India got off to a poor start in its Asia Oceania Group-I Davis Cup tie against Uzbekistan here on Friday, losing both the singles matches at the Sport Complex Pahlavon here.
Rookies Sanam Singh and Yuki Bhambri lost to Denis Istomin and Farrukh Dustov respectively in what turned out to be lop-sided contests.
To stay alive in the tie, India will again have to depend on Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna to pull one back by winning the doubles rubber.
The Uzbeks got off the blocks in style as their top player Denis Istomin, defeated debutant Sanam Singh 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 to give his side a 1-0 lead.
In the second match, Dustov beat Bhambri 6-4, 6-4, 6-3.
Facing the World No.43 on clay was always going to be a difficult proposition for Sanam Singh. The 25-year-old Istomin, who had beaten Andy Roddick on his way to the final at San Jose earlier this year, was hardly troubled as he wrapped up the opening match in less than two hours.
Sanam Singh — the gold medallist at the Asian Games — is most comfortable on hard courts, and found it difficult to stay with Istomin in long rallies.
Adding to his woes were a number of unforced errors.
In the second match, Bhambri, the world No.295, did put up a fight against Dustov, ranked 33 places above him, in the first two sets before running out of steam in the third set.
India goes into Saturday as overwhelming favourite to win the doubles rubber, with both Paes and Bopanna ranked in the doubles top-10.
Keywords: Davis Cup