PARIS: Somdev Devvarman became the first Indian in 13 years to qualify for the men’s singles event of the French Open after scoring a 6-4, 6-1 win over Adrian Mannarino.
It took sixth seed Somdev one hour and 25 minutes to quell the challenge of his French rival in the third and final round and seal one of the 16 main draw spots up for grab.
Leander Paes was the last Indian to play in men’s singles event of the French Open in 1997 when he made the second round of the clay court Grand Slam.
This is for the second time that Somdev has qualified for the men’s singles of a Grand Slam tournament. He first played in a tennis Major at the US Open last year and had reached second round.
Somdev’s victory means India will not go unrepresented in the singles event of the second Grand Slam of the year since Sania Mirza is giving a miss to women’s singles event.
Last year, Somdev had stumbled on the last hurdle here as he had lost the final round.
Somdev had to work hard to take first set from Mannarino, ranked 170 spots below him at 289, as the local fought tooth and nail.
There were numerous breaks as Somdev lost his serve thrice and Mannarino twice. However, after 58-minute tussle, Somdev succeeded in grabbing the lead.
The second set though belonged to the Indian as Somdev broke his rival twice and sealed the set for the loss of one game. (PTI)