New Delhi: Somdev Devvarman does not have many Challenger level titles to show off in a game which he calls "brutal" and when his Delhi Open triumph came without losing a set in the tournament, India's number one singles player termed the performance as one of his best.
Somdev outplayed Kazakhstan's top seed Aleksandr Nedovyesov 6-3 6-1 in the final to clinch his third title and pocket USD 14,400 as prize money along with 100 ranking points.
"I don't remember when was the last time I won a match losing just 10 points on my serve. I had never won without dropping a set, so it is definitely one of my best performances," Somdev said at the post match press conference.
Somdev's Delhi Open win was his first since 2010 when he lifted the Challenger trophy in the Izmir event in Turkey. Last year he made three semifinals.
"It's huge. Nicer than the semis. Tennis is a brutal sport. In a main draw, 31 players go losing and only one win. It's not easy. So whenever I win, I enjoy, I cherish. And I am happy to have played and won in India," he said.
Somdev turned 29 a few days back but he was not overtly worried. He said he surely could play for a long time.
"I have started travelling with a physio. I think you can prolong your career by a couple of years. Leander (Paes) is still playing and winning at the Grand Slam level. I have learnt the value of being a professional," he said.
Talking about the final, Somdev said getting the first break of the match in the seventh game proved crucial.
"I was playing aggressive from the start. He was hitting clear winners. 3-3 is always a big game, It's last game played with old balls. He missed the first serve and I took advantage of that.
"The court suits me and I am familiar with the place, I have played national on these very courts. The court was slow and it was difficult to attack," he explained.
Somdev thoroughly enjoyed playing in front of a huge crowd.
"I was told that people would come but I was not sure. When I walked in today I realised that there are a lot of people. I don't remember when I had seen these many people in a Challenger. So nice for Delhi people to come and watch. Nice to see this support. It felt like playing in a Davis Cup match," he said.
Somdev hardly has time to celebrate his win as he plays US Open 2009 winner Juan Martin del Potro on Tuesday in the first round of the Dubai ATP 500 event, where he has been given a wild card entry.
"He's a class guy. Those will be faster courts, different conditions. I have to play my best to have a chance against him. But I have taken a lot of confidence going into that match."
Nedovyesov was gracious in defeat, saying he did not want to make any excuses. Asked if he was completely fit, the Kazakh said, "I don't want to make any excuses. I don't want to talk about it (his health).
"He (Somdev) played the way he plays. I tried to be aggressive and when you do that, you can make mistakes as I did. But it was a good week for me. I won some good matches, I am satisfied."