Uzbeks avoid whitewash

Uzbeks avoid whitewash
New look India didn’t enjoy the perfect result but they still walked away with their hearts content as they pummelled Uzbekistan 4-1 in the Davis Cup Asia Oceania Group I round two tie here on Sunday.

Having already guaranteed themselves a spot in the World Group play-offs after taking an unassailable 3-0 lead on Saturday, Sunday’s action was about heaping more misery on an Uzbek side looking completely out of sorts in the absence of their star player Denis Istomin.

Ramkumar Ramanathan, who survived a scrappy affair on the opening day to hand India the first blood, looked far more assured on the final day as he packed off a young Sanjar Fayziev 6-3, 6-2 in a little over an hour at the KSLTA courts. Prajnesh Gunneswaran, however, couldn’t ensure a whitewash, struggling big-time with his serve and shot-making to lose 5-7, 3-6 to Temur Ismailov in another brisk contest.

Ramkumar was somewhat lucky to win an error-strewn contest against Ismailov on the opening day. On Sunday, despite the rubber being a dead one, Ramkumar looked to make an impression on captain Mahesh Bhupathi. He struggled with his first serves but unlike the previous encounter where he committed 14 double faults, he managed to get his second serves in without much fuss.

There was a marked improvement in his backhand as he used his weaker shot somewhat more confidently. With his forehand clicking as usual he faced little trouble and polished off Fayziev.

Ramkumar broke Fayziev in the second game of the opening set and although the latter recomposed himself quickly and held his end pretty well, the lone break was enough for the Indian to walk away with the set.

Ramkumar kick-started the second set also on a confident note, breaking Fayziev in the opening game itself. The Indian broke again for a 5-2 lead and from thereon it was just cakewalk as Ramkumar won without breaking much sweat.

Results: India beat Uzbekistan 4-1 (Ramkumar Ramanathan bt Sanjar Fayziev 6-3, 6-2; Prajnesh Gunneswaran lt to Temur Ismailov 5-7, 3-6).

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