Somdev Devvarman has said Rohan Bopanna’s sensational victory over South Africa No.1 Rik De Voest on the opening day inspired him to stage a fight back and win the crucial reverse singles to take India to the elite World Group of Davis Cup for the first time in 11 years.

Bopanna, who was coming back from a injury, upset De Voest to give India a 2-0 lead, after Somdev won the first rubber against Izak Van der Merwe on Friday.

“Bopanna’s win against Rik de Voest really inspired me. He played a brilliant game of tennis. He was out for three months due to knee injury and this was his first match on the big stage. He lost the first set, but stepped up in the other three sets. It took the pressure off me while I was playing Rik. In fact, Bopanna helped me play the way I played on Sunday,” said Somdev after returning to a rousing welcome here Monday.

“Bopanna gave us a 2-0 lead and then it was on me. We never lost the doubles tie for a long time so when I went to the fourth rubber, I knew it was going to be tough one,”

Somdev, who was down two sets and a break in the third, came back to beat De Voest in the first reverse singles.

“We knew each other game’s inside out because we practise together. We have different styles of game. I like to play from the baseline and he comes to the net. That makes the match interesting.”

“Rik did exceedingly well. He came up with great tactics and executed well. He made life difficult for me. When I won the third set, I realised that slowly I am playing my game. I remained focused, kept myself motivated. I was expecting it to be a physical game and I could see that Rik was having a tough time at the other end. In the fifth set, I created a lot of opportunities.”

Somdev said he relishes the opportunity to play for the country.

“I love to play in a team atmosphere. I have done that in my college days. It’s a welcome change from playing in the Tour where you are always travelling. In the Davis Cup, you can share your experiences with the team-mates at the locker room.

“It’s been a good week for me. It was a great team atmosphere. I knew that it was an important tie for us and I am happy to played a role in the victory.”

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