India trails 0-1, Yuki suffers tame defeat in opening singles

India trails 0-1, Yuki suffers tame defeat in opening singles

Yuki Bhambri failed to rise to the occasion and suffered a straight-set bashing at the hands of Dusan Lajovic in the opening singles to leave India trailing 0-1 in the Davis Cup World Group play-off tie against Serbia, here today.

Yuki, who missed a good part of the season due to a heel injury, could play well only in patches as world number 61 Lajovic cruised to a 6-3 6-2 7-5 win in two hours and four minutes at the KSLTA stadium.

Not having enough matches under his belt, it was an arduous task for Yuki to down a player, who has been in tremendous form this season, in which he reached the French Open pre-quarterfinals too.

Yuki struggled to rein in his free flowing unforced errors and could not finish the points after setting them up. A staggering 59 unforced errors and failure to convert seven of the nine break chances, told the story of the match.

The onus to bring India back in the tie is now on Somdev Devvarman, who will take on Serbia's Filip Krajinovic.

Even as the two players struggled with their first serves, it was Yuki who shocked the Serbian side by getting the first break in the third game. Yuki's strategy was clear –- keep the points short. He approached net for that to happen and set up two points in that game with that.

Yuki converted the chance when Lajovic failed to tackle a brilliant backhand return from him, sending a forehand ball long.

The smiles from faces of the Indian team and that of the 2500-strong crowd evaporated soon as Yuki lost his serve at love in the next game, failing to contain his errors.

The ball was coming at a good height due to the high-altitude conditions and going for the big ground-strokes, a key component of Yuki's game, was difficult.

As Yuki struggled to keep the ball in on crucial points, the match gradually started to slip away from him. A forehand went crashing to the net and now Lajovic had a chance to go up. Yuki only helped the cause of his rival by sending a backhand long.

What followed was the most entertaining game of the match as Yuki fought off seven set points but could not convert any of the three chances he got.

Yuki played tremendous tennis from being down 0-40 even as Lajovic's desperation to close the set and subsequent errors aided him along. After saving first three set points, Yuki earned himself the first chance to get a break with a stunning forehand service winner, but could not capitalize.

Another backhand winner gave him his third opportunity but a long and wide forehand on that breakpoint spoilt the chance. In between, Yuki came up with a stunning lob following an enticing rally and had Lajovic gasping.

However the Serbian eventually close the set in his eighth set point on the back of a good serve, which Yuki failed to return.

The second set was a disaster for India as Yuki's game crumbled. Lajovic had settled and two back-to-back breaks put him in driver's seat as the Serbian swiftly grabbed the second set.

Yuki raised hopes of reversal of fortune when he led 4-1 in the third set but unforced errors came back to haunt him. He dropped serve in the seventh game and that little opening was enough for Lajovic to claw his way back.

Yuki's teammates, Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan along with trainer Yash Pandey shouted their lungs out to cheer him as the whole stadium joined them in slogans of "Yuki Yuki ... India India ..." soon after he held his serve for a 5-4 lead.

Yuki yet again approached the net, coming forward but failed to finish points. Down 0-40, the Indian managed to save two chances but lost the third as Lajovic served out the match.

The Indian saved first match point with a drop volley and his misery ended when his backhand slice kissed the net on the second match point.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get the top news in your inbox
Comments (+)