- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Local favorite Somdev Devvarman’s magical ride continued Monday as the 23-year-old rookie defeated wild card entry Taylor Dent 7-6 (3), 2-6, 6-1 for his first ATP Tour victory. The win also earned the former Virginia player a well-deserved day off.

“I’d like to sleep in, you know, you know, just hang out,” said Devvarman, who has played four matches in three days. “Have a laid-back day.”

After being “passive” in the second set, Devvarman attacked the baseline with a mixed bag of serves ranging from 90 to 120 mph.

“He made me play a set that I wasn’t happy with,” Devvarman said. “He forced it out of me, and that’s what good players do to you, but I thought I rebounded well.”

Devvarman said he is still adjusting to the day-in and day-out rhythms of professional tennis and the dimensions of center stage.

“It takes a little getting used to. I know it’s just a tennis court, and I have played on a tennis court all my life, but it’s a little different,” Devvarman said of playing his on center court. “I feel slightly more comfortable as the match goes on.”

Dent, playing in only his second ATP event since 2006 after back surgery in March 2007, was just happy to be on the court. For a while, Dent doubted whether he would play again.

“I actually didn’t think I was coming back, it wasn’t a matter of staying positive - I just dismissed it,” Dent said. “Then all of a sudden the doctor says, ‘You know, it looks really good. You should go give it a shot. I was like, ‘Whoa! That’s a nice little bonus.’”

Isner holds on

John Isner, the runner-up at last year’s Legg Mason Tennis Classic, fought through a tough third set tiebreak to advance past eighth-seeded Marcel Granollers-Pujol 6-3, 6-7, 7-6.

With “Let’s Go John” chants echoing from the stands, the 6-foot-9 Isner regrouped in the second tiebreak and beat the Spaniard with a combination of powerful slams and serves. The former All-American at Georgia won 69 percent of his points and recorded 12 aces.

“I was kind of frustrated with how I was playing in that third set,” Isner said. “I just told myself to stop thinking about it so much.”

Isner, who upset three seeded players on his way to the tournament final last year, nearly fought his way out of a 6-2 hole during the tiebreak to take the match in straight sets, but he sailed a routine return shot over the baseline.

“I can’t seem to win them any way else,” Isner said. “Same story as last year. It’s got to be this tournament. This is the only time I do this.”

Haas advances

Tommy Haas launched balls into the crowd following his 6-4,4-6, 6-1 victory over Rik De Voest. The fourth-seeded German will face Nicolas Mahut in the second round.

Haas said he was happy to be back in the District and would rather be at the H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center than anywhere - even Beijing.

“I got my medal at home, and I am done with it,” Haas said about his silver in Athens. “All the respect to the athletes that are there trying to fight for medals, which is great, but I can just sit back and relax and just look at mine everyday if I want to.”

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