- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Legg Mason Classic has been the site of a couple of firsts for recent University of Virginia graduate Somdev Devvarman. Last year, he made it through qualifying and advanced to his first quarterfinals. On Tuesday, he defeated his first top-20 opponent as a professional.

Devvarman kicked off the second round by notching the biggest upset of the tournament, a 7-5, 6-4 victory over world No. 15 Marin Cilic at William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center. Even though Devvarman had to survive the grind of qualifying and playing his first-round match Monday, the early matches helped him stay sharp and prepare for Cilic, who was playing in his first ATP tournament since Wimbledon.

“I wasn’t nervous coming out,” said Devvarman, who was playing for the fourth day in a row. “It was his first match this week, and I already had three under my belt.”

The sixth-seeded Cilic seemed a bit rusty. He has struggled at times this year with accuracy on his serve, and Tuesday was no exception - just 53 percent of his first serves landed inbounds.

The 20-year-old Croatian had an unusual problem with saving break points. Cilic’s .700 break-point save percentage is second-best on the ATP tour, but Devvarman was able to convert four of his seven opportunities.

Devvarman had two chances to serve out each set. He led 5-4 in the opener, then lost on serve. But he responded by breaking Cilic right back and making the most of his second attempt to take a one-set advantage. The second set was a similar story, as Devvarman lost all four points trying to end the match with a 5-2 edge. Two games later, he finally finished off Cilic, smacking a forehand winner down the line to secure his biggest win yet.

“For me to become a better player, I need to start taking those first chances,” Devvarman said. “I was lucky to get more than one.”

The match served as revenge of sorts for Devvarman. In the first tournament of the year, in Devvarman’s native India, Cilic beat Devvarman for the title. Coincidentally, his next opponent will most likely be Ivo Karlovic, whom he beat en route to the Chennai final.

Should he win his next match and return to the quarterfinals again, Devvarman could face Andy Roddick. That might be looking too far into the future, though.

“The way I’m looking at it, it’s just one at a time,” Devvarman said.

Ginepri bows out

Leading 4-1 in a third-set tiebreak against Benjamin Becker, Robby Ginepri was unable to close out the match.

The 26-year-old American lost the next six points, and Becker escaped with a 7-6 (3), 6-7 (1), 7-6 (4) victory in the opening-round match.

“I had chances in the third tiebreak and just let it slip away,” Ginepri said. “I missed four routine backhands. I don’t know what happened.”

Becker will face Roddick in the second round Wednesday.

Ferrero outlasts Lapentti

In the longest match of the night, Juan Carlos Ferrero labored through a three-set, two-and-a-half hour win over Nicolas Lapentti. Ferrero, who was once the top-ranked player in the world, won 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-0. One of the biggest factors in Ferrero’s victory was his stellar performance on break points, saving all eight against him - including three in the third set - and converting four of six.

“I saved a lot of break points, and it was one of the keys to [staying] alive,” he said. “In the third set, I pushed a little bit more and I could get in a rhythm.

Haas moves on

It seemed like No. 10 seed Tommy Haas would cruise into the third round after a decisive first-set victory, but Frank Dancevic gave him all he could handle.

Haas survived the Canadian’s gritty challenge, squeaking by 6-1, 4-6, 6-4. Less than half of Haas’ first serves were in play, making it difficult for him to close out the match.

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