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India in driver's seat on day one

Sidney Kiran, Bangalore, April 6, 2013, DHNS:

Somdev, Yuki win singles to give hosts 2-0 lead

 Somdev Devvarman during his win over Wisnu Adi Nugroho. DH photo

Expectedly, it turned out to be a walk in Cubbon Park for India on the opening day of their Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group I play-off tie against Indonesia here on Friday.

Starting as overwhelming favourites against a team who has never beaten them in five attempts, Somdev Devvarman and Yuki Bhambri laid the foundation for a sixth straight victory after pulling off comfortable wins much to the delight of the noisy crowd at the KSLTA courts.

While Somdev, ranked 208 in the world, exposed the vast difference in class between him and the 1774-ranked Wisnu Adi Nugroho with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 demolition, Yuki sparkled under the evening floodlights, marching past Indonesia No 1 player Christopher Rungkat 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 as India opened a 2-0 lead and appeared primed to seal the rubber on Saturday itself.

The tie between Somdev and Wisnu turned out to a complete mismatch as the Indian hardly broke a sweat. Starting off with a booming ace, the Indian completely dominated the hapless Indonesian, who just seemed like going through the motions in the 90-minute contest.

Barring an odd winner here or there, Wisnu was rarely able to force the issue as Somdev dictated the pace and speed of the contest that seemed more like an exhibition match rather than a Davis Cup tie that is closely fought more often than not.

Somdev marched to a 3-1 lead when he broke Wisnu with a fine volley. He then broke Wisnu in the sixth game before wrapping up the set. Serving and returning well, Somdev started the second set with a bang, breaking Wisnu in the opening game. The next five games went with serve before Somdev stepped on the pedal to all but wrap up the second set too.†

After bringing up three break points with two fine winners -- the first a cross court and the second down the line – Somdev sealed the game with another scorching winner. He then served out the set with utmost ease, appearing completely in cruise mode.

Somdev began the third set too in ominous fashion, breaking Wisnu in the first and third games after which the Indonesian’s fate appeared completely sealed. Somdev did commit his first double-fault of the match in the sixth game but that turned one of the very few blemishes of the day from the Indian. He held his serve without much fuss and two games later, sealed the match much like the way he began it – with a crunching ace.

Feeding off from his senior partner’s command show, Yuki oozed class against Rungkat to whom he has now not lost in three attempts at the top level. Although the match appeared more competitive than the opening singles, Yuki seized the vital moments to eventually craft a comfortable win in just under two hours.

Result: India lead Indonesia 2-0 (Somdev Devvarman bt Wisnu Adi Nugroho 6-1, 6-2, 6-2; Yuki Bhambri bt Christopher Rungkat 6-3, 6-2, 6-2).


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