Indians end tie in rousing fashion

Indians end tie in rousing fashion

Tennis Davis Cup : Bopanna wins reverse singles in 4-1 victory

Indians end tie in rousing fashion

 A superlative India wrapped up their Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group 1 tie in style after conjuring a 4-1 victory over a spirited South Korea at the Chandigarh Club on Sunday.

Rohan Bopanna surprised by turning out for the first reverse singles and fought back from a set and break down to beat left-hander Hong Chung 3-6, 6-4, 6-4. With India on the verge of registering a whitewash light drizzle interrupted the play for an hour and 36 minutes.

Ramanathan Ramkumar, playing the second reverse singles, put up a brilliant fight against Yong-Kyu Lim. He was serving for the match in the deciding third set but frittered away the advantage to lose 3-6, 6-3, 6-7 (2) and handed Korea their first point of the tie.
However, with India already conjuring an unbeatable 3-0 lead and a place in World Group play-offs, the results of these two reverse singles, reduced to three sets, mattered little.

The proceedings at the Chandigarh Club were rather quiet in the morning. The hangover of the Saturday’s doubles victory, that also sealed the tie for India, hung around. People were slow to trickle in, the players came out relaxed, though the stands didn’t fill the way they did on Saturday. Still enough people turned out by the afternoon and were left exhilarated on watching the Indian team and support staff dancing to a Bollywood number. It was a well-choreographed performance for which the team, including captain Anand Amritraj, had been rehearsing in dressing room.

In the first reverse single, Chung began brightly even as Bopanna struggled to find his range. The Indian, in the meanwhile, used his big serves effectively till Chung producing some searing groundstrokes broke the Indian in the seventh and ninth games to take the opening set. With Bopanna beginning to struggle with his serve, Chung broke him straightaway in the second set following the Indian’s back-to back-double faults and took control with a 4-1 lead.
However, errors began to creep in the Korean’s game, especially at the net. Bopanna quickly reeled off five games on trot to make it a set-all. The 36-year-old veteran didn’t look back from there. He broke Chung in the fifth game of decider and in no time served out the set and the match.

“Saketh called at 8 am and said he couldn’t walk. It took a while to get used to not just the movement but also courts. I don’t remember when was the last time I made backhand slice returns. I had to change my style. My instincts automatically drove me to hit in the alleys,” said Bopanna, who last played a Davis Cup singles match in 2012 in a dead fifth rubber against Uzbekistan's Sarvar Ikramov.

“I was serving too may double faults. But once I got the break, the momentum changed.”
Armyman Lim, who had to be stretchered out on the opening day due to the cramps, gave a good account of himself.  Apart from being a big server, he showed fantastic hands at net. He took the opening set after breaking Ramkumar in the fourth game. However, the Indian stroked some scorching returns from the back of the court in the second set and broke Lim in the 11th game to force a decider. His game, however, fell apart when serving for the match at 5-4. The match quickly spilled into the tie-break, where Lim prevailed  to bring some cheer for the Korean camp.

The Indian fans returned satiated, the organisers heaved a sigh of relief and once the tie was over, even the predicted rain, that had held itself all these days, pelted with gay abandon; much like the dancing Indian team.