Davis Cup: India clueless versus Serbians

Sep 13, 2014, 05:55 IST | Naoshirvan N Vakil

Yuki and Somdev surrender meekly as hosts lose both singles encounters against Serbia

Bangalore: Yuki Bhambri summed up the opening day succinctly. “I had a bad day at the office but he was a much better player.’’

Somdev Devvarman
Somdev Devvarman reacts during his Davis Cup tie loss to Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic at KSLTA stadium in Bangalore. Pic/PTI.

A bad day would be an understatement as Bhambri and Somdev Devvarman were swept aside by the ruthless Serbs in the Davis Cup World Group playoff tie yesterday. Serbia are now just one point away from remaining in the elite World Group next year.

Yuki Bhambri
Yuki Bhambri is disappointed during his match against Dusan Lajovic yesterday. Pic/PTI.

Bhambri, who took first crack under a blazing sun, succumbed to the power and accuracy of Serbian No 1 Dusan Lajovic, losing 3-6, 2-6, 5-7, while Devvarman, who took to the court under cooler conditions and the floodlights, was no match for Serb No 2 Filip Krajinovic going down 1-6, 6-4, 3-6, 2-6 as Serbia powered to a 2-0 lead over India at the KSLTA stadium..

Bhambri never got going as he made a number of unforced errors and he mishit the ball far too often. He blamed it on the altitude as the balls were flying off the court, but in reality it was the depth and power of Lajovic’s shots which forced him into errors.

The Delhi lad had a sniff in the third as he led 4-1 and should have gone up a double break, but Lajovic came storming back and upped the tempo to seal the deal at 7-5.

‘More aggression’
“I should have been far more aggressive from the outset. I let Lajovic dictate the points. My folly was that I tried to beat him from the baseline instead of playing more attacking tennis,’’ the downcast Indian said.

Lajovic, who idolises Pete Sampras and Roger Federer as they both have single-hander backhands, felt a solid baseline game and cutting down on mistakes were the focal points on his victory.

The Serb lapped up the adulation of the sporting crowd. “It was a pleasure playing in front of the Indian crowd. They were very fair and applauded my winners.’’ India No 1 Devvarman sparkled briefly in the second set, but otherwise gave a pedestrian performance. He was routed in the first set but fought back spiritedly to bag the second. Krajinovic upped the ante as he packed a punch with his serves and showed deft touches at the net to bag the third set.

Devvarman’s shoulders slumped in the fourth set as the Serb peppered winners to all parts of the court. “I was disappointed with my serves. He was solid on both flanks,’’ a weary Somdev lamented.

Live tonight: Davis Cup playoff on DD Sports, 18.30

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