Chennai:Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi were effusive in their praise for Somdev Devvarman, who defeated former world number one French Open champion Carlos Moya on Thursday, and said Somdev has it in him to take Indian tennis to greater heights.
Paes said Somdev's win did not surprise him. "I have been saying for a while that Som is going to carry on Indian tennis to greater heights. He has been playing well. I was not surprised that he won against Moya but the manner in which he progressed and strategically was on road to victory was excellent," Paes told reporters after losing his doubles match pairing Lukas Dlouhy against German duo Rainer Schuettler and Bjorn Phau.
Bhupathi also said he had expected Varman to do well and even gave him a fighting chance on Friday against Ivo Karlovic of Croatia.
"Five months since he turned pro, we all in the locker room expected him to do well. His transition has been excellent. I think he has a fighting chance even against Karlovic. Dev enjoys players who are coming in," he said.
The 22-year old Somdev overcame a first set lapse to shock Moya, two-time champion here, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 in a gruelling two hours and 11 minute contest to become the first Indian to make the quarterfinals at Chennai Open since Paes reached the semifinals in 1998.
Moya also lauded Somdev and said he was different from the other Indian tennis players.
"He is playing differently. He does not play the typical Indian tennis. His transition is seen from the way he played today," the Spaniard said.