Bangalore: It's really apt that Survivor's Eye of the Tiger blared through the louspeakers during the fifth set of the Somdev Devvarman vs Dusan Lajovic clash yesterday.
India's Somdev Devvarman celebrates with teammates after winning against Serbia's Dusan Lajovic at KSLTA Stadium in Bengaluru. Pic/PTI
Somdev epitomises the Rocky movie theme song. Serbia's Dusan Lajovic looked all set to wrap up the tie but the Indian marathon man clawed his way to a memorable five-set triumph.
India and Serbia are locked 2-2 in the Davis Cup World Group playoff yesterday. Somdev prevailed 1-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 in three and a half hours.
In the deciding rubber, Filip Krajinovic led Yuki Bhambri 6-3, 4-4 in the crucial fifth and deciding rubber before heavy showers suspended the match. The match will be resumed at 12 noon today. Somdev was given a massive boost after Leander and Rohan's histrionics in the doubles.
"Of course a match like that gets your competitive juices flowing. I am especially happy for Lee as he has been going through hell in his personal life. To stay focused on the tennis after being two sets down and to come up trumps is a remarkable triumph," Somdev said.
It was Lajovic who began the stronger and his single hander backhand was working like a dream as he struck fluent down-the-line winners. He exerted pressure on Somdev's serve and this paid rich dividends.
Somdev claws back
The second set followed the same pattern. Lajovic had atleast eight break points but Somdev saved them all. He started timing the ball better and closed out the set as the Serb made errors.
Somdev, basically a defensive player, switched tactics in the third set as he won a couple of serve-and-volley points and began to attack the net more often. However, he let Lajovic back into the set after taking a 4-1 lead as he committed a number of unforced errors.
However, Somdev just doesn't know how to lose. He ploughed his way to take the fourth, the deciding point on a superb backhand stab volley.
Lajovic started missing his backhands as he netted many shots. Somdev said some of his tactics were to unsettle the Serb, "I used the ploy to run around my backhand on the return to put pressure on him, especially on the ad court.
I did different things to throw him off his game and serve-volley was one of those tactics which worked nicely.
"The crowd really lifted (me up); it was a pleasure playing in Bangalore. You don't get this sort of atmosphere abroad," smiled Somdev.