A humid 32℃ afternoon in the heart of Cubbon Park, at the KSLTA stadium, perfect conditions and a perfect venue to start any tournament. The opening day of the Davis Cup world group play-off between India and Serbia kicked off with Yuki Bhambri (India) and Dusan Lajovic (Serbia) playing the first match. The Serb got the better of Yuki and won the match 6-3 6-2 7-5.
In the initial stages of the game, both players took a while to adjust to the windy weather and extra bounce. The Serbian youngster lost his server early but therafter he had good control over his game and he soon broke back Yuki. Things got worse for Yuki, as his serve got broken in two straight service games. Lajovic went on to win the first set 6-3.
The Serb put more pressure on his Indian counterpart as he began the second set strongly with some powerful returns on the baseline. Yuki showed signs of nervousness, maybe because he had recently returned from injury. Yuki did show some fight on a few occasions but it wasn’t enough to stop Lajovic, who had found his rhythm by now. He continued his good form in the last set as well, thus sealing the match and earning a point for the visitors.
Match 2: Somdev goes down fighting
The next match featured the in-form players India’s number one – Somdev Devvarman and Filip Krajinovic (Serbia). The match was played under floodlights. Krajinovic switched to attack mode from the first break itself and won the first set 6-1 in no time.
The second set was also going the visitors’ way but Somdev battled on to take the second set 6-4. He engaged Krajinovic in long rallies and had him on the backfoot.
After the comeback, things were expected to go in India’s way but Krajinovic had different plans. He played with the same intensity for the next two sets and won them 6-3 and 6-2 respectively. Somdev fought hard but he lacked the stamina and also lost his range of shots committing many unforced errors, in the process. Krajinovic’s victory ensured a healthy 2-0 lead for Serbia and the team has already set a foot in the World Group.
Can the experienced Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna turn things around for India? Can Yuki and Somdev come good in their next games as they switch opponents? A lot of questions will be answered on day 2.
Will history repeat itself?: 4 years ago, India were 2-0 down against Brazil in the Davis Cup world group playoffs in Chennai. They went on to win the series 3-2. One would hope to see a similar performance from the Indians.