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Somdev in final as Malisse quits

July 27, 2008 12:41 IST

Barely three months after turning professional, India's Somdev Devvarman made it to the final of the ATP Challenger in Lexington after his opponent Xavier Malisse of Belgium retired with an injury on Saturday.

- I am playing better tennis now: Somdev

Somdev, who had beaten second seed Bobby Reynolds of USA en-route to the semi-finals, was leading 4-1 in the first set when Malisse decided to quit.

A former top-20 player, the Belgian has now fallen to 162 in the world rankings and was not even seeded for the Challenger.

Meanwhile, double NCAA champion Somdev extended his unbeaten streak to 14 since stepping on the tour. The Indian Davis Cupper had won two consecutive Futures events in the USA prior to this tournament.

Somdev will next face third seeded American Robert Kendrick, who knocked out the top seed Dudi Sela 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 in the other semi-final.