Davis Cup: Meets Korea in the second round for a berth in the World Group play-off
Professional players do not spend too much time worrying about providing entertainment to the galleries. They just try to get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible.
That was the hard lesson for the capacity crowd at the Indore Tennis Club as the Chinese Taipei challenge ended tamely with India running up a 5-0 victory in double quick time on the final day of the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania group ‘I’ tie.
For the Sunday crowd that included hundreds of school children in uniform, the entertainment did not last even as long as a movie show.
Debutant Saketh Myneni, playing in place of India’s No.1 Somdev Devvarman, outplayed Tsung-Hua Yang 6-1, 6-4 in 47 minutes in the fourth rubber.
After that, Yuki Bhambri dismissed Taipei’s doubles specialist Hsien-Yen Peng 7-5, 6-0 in 55 minutes. His two wins in the match helped Bhambri, who had beaten Yang in the first rubber on the opening day, enhance his Davis Cup record to 8-1. His only defeat since making his Cup debut against South Africa in 2009, was at the hands of Farrukh Dustov of Uzbekistan in Namangan in 2012.
This was the third time in a row that Bhambri was winning both his singles rubbers, following the efforts against New Zealand and Indonesia.
With India having sealed the match 3-0 on the second day and Devvarman opting to catch an early flight to Chennai for the Challenger tournament beginning on Monday, captain Anand Amritraj handed Myneni, who had given a fair hint of his abilities in the doubles rubber with Rohan Bopanna, the opportunity of playing the first of the reverse singles.
Easily the biggest server in the country, Myneni dropped only six points in his nine service games, and two of them were on double-faults. The 26-year-old gave little scope to Yang, who was profligate on his own serve, getting broken often and without much provocation.
After breaking Yang in the second and sixth games of the first set which had lasted all of 20 minutes, Myneni broke the 22-year-old former World No.1 junior decisively in the seventh game of the second set.
Bhambri then showed how well he had adapted to the slow high bounce as he toyed with Hsien-Yen Peng, timing his strokes nicely.
It was on serve till 5-5, before the 24-year-old Peng squandered a 40-0 lead to drop serve in the 11th game, and Bhambri served out the set with ease.
The 21-year-old rode the momentum to close it out in the next 20 minutes with cooperation from Peng who delivered double-faults every time he faced break-point. In fact, twice Peng set up break-points with double-faults. Bhambri, meanwhile, stayed focused and saved two break-points in the sixth game to hold, bringing the day’s programme to a quick end — spectators were actually still trickling in and had to be convinced that the tie had ended.
India will play Korea away in the Asia-Oceania group I second round from April 4 to 6 for a berth in the World Group play-offs.
The results: India bt Chinese Taipei 5-0 (Saketh Myneni bt Tsung-Hua Yang 6-1, 6-4; Yuki Bhambri bt Hsien-Yen Peng 7-5, 6-0).