Guangzhou: Somdev Devvarman on Tuesday created history by becoming the first Indian to win a gold medal in the men’s singles tennis event of the Asian Games after outplaying top seed and world number 44 Denis Istomin 6-1 6-2 in the lop-sided summit clash here.
With this win, Somdev won his second gold from the tennis competition, and seventh for India, having already captured yellow metal in the men’s doubles with Sanam Singh.
No Indian player had played in the gold-medal match in the men’s singles before Somdev, world number 106, and the country had three bronze medals to show so far at the Games.
Leander Paes (Hiroshima in 1994), Mahesh Bhupathi (Bangkok in 1998) and Prahlad Srinath (Bangkok in 1998) had won those three bronze medal in men’s singles.
In total, Somdev won three medals at this edition of the Games as he had earlier won a bronze in team event as well.
India rounded off its tennis campaign with five medals, two more than what the country had got at the Doha Asian Games in 2006.
At Doha, Leander Paes had won two gold medals - in men’s doubles with Mahesh Bhupathi and in mixed doubles with Sania Mirza. Sania had won a sliver in the women’s singles.
The final match between Somdev and Istomin never rose to expected heights as the Uzbek was erratic and failed to curb his unforced errors, which helped Somdev’s cause.
The Indian broke the Uzbek twice in the opening set to take a comfortable 5-0 and served it out in the seventh game, having dropped his own in the sixth.
The second set was no different as Somdev again rode on double break after initial resistance from Istomin to seal the gold medal.