India sweep singles for 2-0 Davis Cup lead

Bangalore, April 5 (IANS) Expectedly, India romped to a 2-0 lead against Indonesia in the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group I relegation play-off after Somdev Devvarman and Yuki Bhambri won their respective singles ties in straights sets here Friday.

In two hopelessly one-sided contests, Devvarman routed rookie Wisnu Adi Nugroho 6-1, 6-2, 6-2, and then Bhambri got past Christopher Rungkat 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.

India’s overall dominance was never in doubt once the 28-year old Devvarman, on a comeback trail after a shoulder surgery, hammered a tentative Nugroho whose best moments came in the third set. But the 19-year old Indonesian, ranked 1774, never quite looked the part.

In the second singles, Bhambri extended his unbeaten run against the 23-year-old higher ranked Rungkat, who put up a brave fight, but on the day, the 250th ranked Indonesian’s best was not good enough to trouble the 20-year old Delhi-based player.

Devvarman looked quite relieved at getting the first singles out of the day while admitting that he was not serving as well as he used to and that he was still working hard on it.

Conversely, Nugroho, making just his third Davis Cup appearance, could barely hold serve and was broken twice in each of the three sets. Though the Indonesian had a couple of break points in the third set, he failed to convert them and let Devvarman off the hook.

“It was a good start. I broke early in each set. There was no pressure on my serve but I served well only in patches. Coming off the shoulder injury, I still have to work on it. The trouble today was that I didn’t know much about my opponent and so didn’t know what to expect. I wanted to be alert. He rallied a lot in the first set and that suited me but he was aggressive in the second and third and I decided to hit deeper to keep him on the baseline,” said Devvarman.

Bhambri too had little difficulty against Rungkat whom he has played since their junior days. There were moments though in the match when the tide could have turned against the Indian. But Rungkat failed to exploit the situation.

“I had a few breakpoints but could not convert any. I started off well and in the opening few games, I was really on fire. But all credit to Yuki who played a solid match,” said Rungkat, who blew three breakpoints in the crucial ninth game of the first set that Bhambri won after four deuces and on his third set point.

“There were situations in the match when I wanted to close out but committed unforced errors. That is tennis but tonight I played one of my better matches though the high bounce and high altitude made it a bit difficult,” said Bhambri.

Bhambri broke Rungkat in the sixth game to take the first set and in the second, broke the Indonesian twice while dropping serve in between. The third was a virtual washout as Bhambri took command with a break in the fifth, followed by another in the seventh where Rungkat led 40-0, before closing out the match.

With the doubles also likely to go India’s way Saturday, the Indonesians are staring at defeat, something that they tacitly admitted when Rungkat said: “At 2-0, the Indians have the momentum and they are strong in the doubles. But we hope to do our best tomorrow.”

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