Davis Cup: India ready to take on giants Serbia in play off
Bangalore: The decks are finally cleared for the grand show. The million dollar question is will India play spoiler and gatecrash the highly-ranked Serbia's party in the Davis Cup World Group playoff tie beginning tomorrow.
India's Somdev Devvarman (extreme left), Rohan Bopanna, Davis Cup captain Anand Amritraj, Leander Paes and Yuki Bhambri (extreme right) during a press conference yesterday. Pic/PTI
The Indians are a confident bunch. The late withdrawal of World No 1 Novak Djokovic has given the hosts renewed hope.
However, Serbia with their third string team will be no pushovers. Injuries have robbed them of Janko Tipsarevic, while Victor Troiki has just completed a doping ban.
Tipsarevic is a regular at the Chennai Open and even bagged a double at the 2013 event. Of course, his absence is a body blow to the Serbs but they have youngsters Dusan Lajovic (World No 61) and Filip Krajinovic (107) who are promising prospects.
While Yuki Bhambri (153) has never played Lajovic or Krajinovic, Somdev Devvarman (144) has clashed with both Serbs before.
Hard court advantage
Somdev lost to Lajovic on clay at an ATP Challenger in Caltanisetta, Italy. The Indian has never been good on the slow stuff, and has put up his best performances on a hard court.
"Yes, last year's loss was on clay, a surface I struggle on. However, I relish the conditions in Bangalore and I am hoping to put up a good show in the singles on Friday." India's numero uno singles player has a 1-1 record against the Serb No 2 Krajinovic.
"I lost to him in a gruelling three-setter in an ATP Challenger in 2010 on carpet. The tie could have gone either way and just a handful of points separated us," noted Somdev.
On the second occasion, he downed the Serb on hard courts in the San Jose Open in California in 2009. "That was on my best surface and I remember playing very well. Bangalore is a similar surface and I am confident I can pull off the win," stressed the Indian.
Yuki, who lets his racket do the talking as he sends down bullet serves, said, "They are both dangerous players and we will have to be at our best. If we can steal a point in the singles we will be in good shape going into the doubles," pointed out the India No 2.