Bhambri prevails over Yang

Bad light suspends Somdev's stiff encounter against Ti Chen

Yuki Bhambri recovered from mid-match cramps just in time to down Tsung Hua Yang but Somdev Devvarman’s fate hung in balance in the second singles which was suspended due to bad light as India lead 1-0 in the Asia/Oceania Group I Davis Cup tie here on Friday.

Troubled by cramps in both the legs in the third set, Yuki fought off pain and his sluggish rival for a 6-2, 6-4, 6-7 (1-7), 6-3 win in two hours and 52 minutes as he put India ahead in the first round tie.

In the second singles, a defensive Somdev was locked in an engrossing battle against an offensive Ti Chen, in which both have won two sets apiece and fifth set was tied 7-7 after four hours and 30 minutes of tennis.

When bad light forced suspension of the match, the score was 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-3), 1-6, 6-2, 7-7.

Somdev has squandered four match points, including three in the ninth game of the deciding set, so far and Chen has kept his side’s hopes alive to level the tie with his fighting spirit.

The match will be completed on Saturday before Rohan Bopanna and Saketh Myneni clash with Hsien-Yin Peng and Hsin-Han Lee in the doubles rubber.

There was hardly any contest in the opening singles as Yuki hit winner after winner with superb control and even when he suffered the injury and was limping, Yang failed to take advantage.

It was surprising that Yang did not go for kill even as Yuki was struggling to serve and his movement was restricted severely. Yang had a fantastic opportunity to push Yuki out of the match but he blew his chance.

To his credit, Yuki did not give up and kept fighting and his persistence eventually paid off.

Engrossing battle

What followed in the next match was engrossing tennis as Chen played a solid game. He outmanoeuvred Somdev. If Somdev approached net, Chen would get past him with blistering winners and when the Indian stayed behind, Chen came up with amazingly calculated drop shots.

His ground strokes were solid and he opened up the court with ease as he made Somdev run on court.

Somdev was 4-2 up in the first set and 4-1 in the second but allowed Chen to comeback from those precarious situations.

Eventually both the sets were decided via tie-breakers. Somdev was routed in the third set but to his credit, he refused to throw in the towel and kept playing his style of game, keeping as many balls on court as possible and waiting for his rival to commit errors.

The ploy paid dividends as Chen provided the Indian an opening by a few unforced errors.

Somdev broke Chen twice in the fourth set for a 5-1 lead. He dropped serve in the seventh game but Chen double faulted at 30-40 to allow the match to be stretched to the fifth set.

Now it was a game of nerves and Chen lost control over his shots a bit.

Earlier he was finding the lines but now they were going wide and long. One such error handed Somdev a break and a 5-3 lead but the Indian despite being up 40-0, failed to serve out the match.

Somdev had another match point in the next game but could not cash in on.

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