Somdev Devvarman fought like a true warrior to lock the tie with his stunning victory in the fourth rubber while Yuki Bhambri was locked in an engrossing battle in the decider, halted by rain mid-way, as India’s hopes were still hanging by a thread in the David Cup World Group play-off tie against Serbia, here today.
Somdev, who has endured a tough season coming into this tie, carved out a heroic 1-6 6-4 4-6 6-4 6-3 win over world No. 61 Dusan Lajovic to bring the tie to level terms.
Playing in a live fifth rubber for the first in his short Davis Cup career, Yuki was trailing 3-6 4-4 against the 107th ranked Krajinovic when rain started to lash the KSLTA courts, forcing suspension of play.
In the 114-year-old history of Davis Cup, there have been only 51 instances when nations have came back from 0-2 to win the tie and India have done that only once when they beat Brazil in 2010 in Chennai. Somdev had won the fourth rubber then and Rohan Bopanna won the fifth. If India have to do it second time, Yuki will have to play his best and grab chances against Krajinovic as both the players are tremendous stroke makers.
After being drubbed in the first set, Somdev showed amazing endurance and intelligence to counter an opponent, who reached French Open pre-quarterfinals this year. Somdev saved eight breakpoints in the second set to revive his and India’s chances and switched to serve and volley at crucial junctures, surprising his opponent. Somdev, who has struggled in the past while coming forward to finish points, was rewarded for taking risk.
Lajovic dictated terms with his huge service game at the start but after receiving treatment in his left leg at the end of the second set, he lost his rhythm. Initially, Somdev could not play his usual retrieving game but as the match progressed, he could engage Lajovic in long points. He served better and also succeded in finishing points quickly. Lajovic later said that he had slipped during one of the points and that hurt his ankle which later affected his game. — PTI