Yuki Bhambri left dejected after his 3-6, 4-6, 4-6 loss to Filip Krajinovic in Davis Cup decider
Bangalore: The India-Serbia Davis Cup World Group play-off tie finished with a whimper instead of a bang. The sparse spectators gathered at the KSLTA tennis stadium saw Filip Krajinovic make short work of Yuki Bhambri triumphing 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in two hours.
Yuki Bhambri reacts after losing a point to Serbia's Filip Krajinovic
The deciding rubber which was carried over from Sunday due to thundershowers finished within an hour on resumption yesterday. With this narrow 3-2 win, Serbia stayed in the elite 16 team World Group, while India will need to fight it out in Asia Oceania Group 1 competition next year.
An enthralling contest ended in the World No 2 team's favour. The plucky Indians gave the Serbs a severe test, but the tiny East European nation had the last laugh.
Yuki Bhambri, the World No 154, was expected to stage another comeback and possibly perform another miracle, but alas it was not to be! Bhambri did not have the stomach for a fight, his body language was of a defeated man.
He made a number of unforced errors, especially from the forehand flank. His serve was passable as he sent down four aces — the same as Krajinovic.
However the Indian needs to crank it up especially on the first delivery. The backhand was his saviour as he struck it with venom, and sprayed crosscourt and down the line winners. Krajinovic and Yuki have spent plenty of time together at the Nick Bollettieri academy in Bradenton, Florida from the age of 14. They were even roommates at one time!
A crestfallen Yuki knew he let down his team and millions of tennis fans all over India. "I lacked confidence the entire three days. I was not able to produce my best and I felt bad I couldn't get us over the line."
Filip Krajinovic returns to Yuki Bhambri yesterday. Pics/AFP
The India No 2 felt that the rain on Sunday was a good omen for him. "Yes, I was happy the match was stopped. I knew that I would now have to play only three and a half sets and anything was possible if I got off to a good start on Monday. I slept well as I was damn tired. It just didn't fall into place," mumbled a visibly dejected Yuki.
India's Davis Cup captain Anand Amritraj revealed that he was mulling over whether to replace Yuki for the fifth rubber. "Yes there were discussions. Our only viable option was Rohan Bopanna. I spoke with Rohan but came to the conclusion that he was exhausted after the 5th set 8-6 doubles win on Saturday. I thus took the decision to stick to Yuki."
Yuki Bhambri's current singles ranking