Serbia leave patchy India gasping

Lajovic drubs Bhambri and Krajinovic beats Somdev as visitors take 2-0 lead

Serbia leave patchy India gasping

India’s campaign to get into Davis Cup’s elite World Group began on a worst possible note with the hosts losing both their singles matches against Serbia on Friday’s opening day of the World Group play-off.

The crowd was sparse but the few hundreds present at the KSLTA Stadium here spared no effort to keep their players’ morale up. Unfortunately, they had to return disappointed as first Yuki Bhambri and then later in the evening, India’s top-ranked player Somdev Devvarman, suffered losses to hand a crucial 2-0 lead to the visitors who made a mockery of all the pre-tie talks that Bangalore’s high altitude and humidity would make their job difficult.

Yuki Bhambri, who was good in patches but patchy for most part, was routed by Serbian top seed Dusan Lajovic 6-2, 6-1, 7-5 in just over two hours while Somdev showed some stomach for fight before the big-serving Filip Krajinovic ran away a 6-1, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 winner at the end of a two-hour and 23 minutes encounter.    
    
In a match where Yuki’s game oscillated between erratic and entertaining, Lajovic’s superior serve and backhand returns swung the game in Serbian’s favour.

Barring the second set, which barely lasted 30 minutes, Yuki had several chances of making a fist of the contest. The Indian also made the mistake of hugging to baseline against a player who had a big game.  

Somdev on the other hand tried to attack the net but his volleying was way off the mark on the day. The first set was a no-contest as Krajinovic, with a big serve and a forehand to match, broke Somdev thrice to clinch it in 27 minutes.

Krajinovic had a chance to go 2-0 up in the second but Somdev saved four break points to win the game before building a 4-2 lead. Krajinovic fought back to level the scores at 4-4 but Somdev made it 5-4 before serving out for the set.  
  
Somdev couldn’t maintain the same level of intensity after raising some hopes. He was unable to put away some easy volleys and often sprayed the ball either long or wide that reflected his lack of control over the ball. Krajinovic bagged the third with a break in the sixth game while the fourth proved even easier that he won in just 31 minutes.   

In the day’s opening game, Yuki drew the first blood when he broke Lajovic to take a 2-1 lead in the first set. Lajovic did manage to save a break point while trailing 30-40 in the third game when Yuki netted a forehand return but the Indian came up with a backhand winner to take advantage before his opponent hit a forehand long to concede an early lead to the home team.

The joy, however, was short-lived as Lajovic broke Yuki in the very next game at love to level the scores. The duel progressed on even terms before Lajovic established a crucial 5-3 lead with a break of the eighth game, four unforced errors proving costly for Yuki.

Lajovic then ran up a 40-0 lead when Yuki put up his best resistance in the match. The game went into eight deuces as Yuki adopted an aggressive approach. Lajovic eventually prevailed in the slugfest to take the first set.It took exactly 29 minutes for Lajovic to win the second set as he demolished Yuki with breaks in the third and fifth games.

After taking a shellacking in the second, Yuki regrouped himself in the third and even took a 4-1 lead when he held the fifth game. Lajovic, who imparted plenty of topspin on his second serve to get it kick up awkwardly, broke back in the seventh game when Yuki netted his forehand return at 30-40.

Yuki had a chance to regain the advantage when he went 15-40 up in the very next game but Lajovic, serving big, saved the game and then had a break in the 12th to wrap the proceedings.

Results: Serbia: 2 lead India: 0 (Dusan Lajovic bt Yuki Bhambri 6-2, 6-1, 7-5; Filip Krajinovic bt Somdev Devvarman 6-1, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2) 

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