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A positive attitude, strong legs and practice sessions with Andy Roddick have turned Somdev Devvarman into the new hope of Indian tennis.
The 23-year-old Devvarman, who is based in the United States, rose to 154 in the world after beating former world number one Carlos Moya and world number 25 Ivo Karlovic on his way to his first ATP final.
Wildcard Devvarman produced a robust display against Croatian Marin Cilic, ranked 27th last week, before being beaten 6-4, 7-6 in the final.
“This is what we’ve been looking for so many years now… This boy is a real find for us,” doubles specialist Mahesh Bhupathi told the Times of India newspaper.
Bhupathi was one half of the “Indian Express” doubles team with Leander Paes which rose to number one in the world in 1999.
Atlanta Olympics bronze medallist Paes remains the last Indian to have won an ATP singles title, in Newport in 1998, the year he reached his career-best singles ranking of 73 and the last year that India played in the Davis Cup World Group.