DAVIS CUP: Devvarman completes formalities; Bopanna-Myneni win doubles

It was swift and ruthless. The Indian team went for the jugular to defeat Chinese Taipei 3-0 on the second day of the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania group ‘I’ tie at the Indore Tennis Club here on Saturday.

The country’s No. 1 player Somdev Devvarman set the tone with a superb finish this morning, to the marathon that he had endured the previous day with Ti Chen that had lasted four hours and 32 minutes before bad light had forced the suspension of play. He sealed the issue by winning the requisite two games from 7-7 in the decider, by dropping a mere three points in all.

Of course, there was a lot of drama in the morning as Ti Chen, quite tentative, could save two more matchpoints, on his serve, to the four he had survived the previous day. Eventually, Ti Chen put a forehand wide on the seventh matchpoint, much to the joy of the Indian camp.

Good start

Devvarman started well as he held serve fluently, firing an ace along the way. He had three matchpoints on Ti Chen’s serve in the next game, but the Taipei lad pulled off a couple of shots to keep the suspense going, before the curtains came down on his campaign.

“The captain gave a fantastic speech this morning that got us fired up. Yuki sent a nice message. The faith the team had on me was great. I had to step up my serve and put pressure on him. I was playing well yesterday (Friday) and continued to keep that level. I was calm and quite relieved with the win,” said Devvarman.

In the doubles that started at noon, Rohan Bopanna and Saketh Myneni began as if they had a flight to catch, as they blasted their way past Tsung-Hua Yang and Hsien-Yin Ping, dropping a mere eight points to take the first set 6-0 in 16 minutes.

The Taipei team, which had replaced Hsin-Han Lee with Tsung-Hua Yang for the doubles, played an entertaining game thereafter much to the delight of the holiday crowd and the kids who had thronged the arena.

Close match

It was a close match, but both Bopanna and Myneni served and volleyed with tremendous assurance and fire-power to subdue Peng and Yang 6-0, 6-7(3), 6-3, 7-6(2). It was a robust performance as the Indian pair did not drop serve through the match that lasted two hours and 22 minutes, and faced only two breakpoints, on Myneni’s serve in the seventh game of the third set.

“It is easy to play with someone who serves 25 to 30 kilometres faster than me. All credit to him,” said Bopanna, as he heaped praise on Myneni for a solid performance. He said that Saketh had all the tools and needed the self-belief to make it to the next league in the professional circuit.

Bopanna himself showed why he had reached a career-best ranking of No. 3 last year, as he served, volleyed and hit the ground strokes with a lot of power and precision. It was a pleasure to watch as he lent a delectable touch to complement his power play.

The results: India bt Chinese Taipei 3-0 (Somdev Devvarman bt Ti Chen 6-7(4), 7-6(3), 1-6, 6-2, 9-7; Rohan Bopanna & Saketh Myneni bt Tsung-Hua Yang & Hsien-Yin Peng 6-0, 6-7(3), 6-3, 7-6(2)).

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