ndia's non-playing captain Leander Paes chose to throw the "fearless" youngster at the deep end and see how the US Collegiate champion performs at the big stage, instead of risking half-fit Prakash Amritraj, who will play doubles alongside Mahesh Bhuapthi.
To Somdev's good fortune, the draw unfolded in the manner India wanted giving Rohan Bopanna the opening match against Uzbekistan's number 2 player Farrukh Dustov, before Somdev walks in the lush centre court at DLTA on Friday.
At 784 in the ATP Rankings, Somdev is 600 places below Istomin, who is high on confidence after dragging Lleyton Hewitt to a nail-biting four-setter in the Australian Open last month.
But Paes's decision to pick Somdev ahead of Prakash is based on two facts. The 22-year-old will be an unknown entity for Uzbekistan and will certainly add to India's advantage besides giving that extra time to Prakash to recuperate from the stomach ailment and come out fully fit for the doubles clash on Saturday against Istomin and Dustov.