The only hiccup that India faced enroute to a 2-0 result in their favour at the end of Day One was when Yuki Bhambri saved three break points before serving out the opening set in the second singles rubber against Indonesias Christopher Rungkat. Other than that game,when he made the Indian dugout a wee bit nervous,Bhambri played his best match in his five Davis Cup ties,and that too against Indonesias No.1 player. Though Rungkat did not stop trying till the very end,Bhambri made it look far too easy with a 6-3 6-2 6-2 scoreline.
It was after Somdev Devvarman had barely broken a sweat in dispatching Wisnu Adi Nugroho 6-1 6-2 6-2. His performance must have soothed any nerves that Bhambri might have been feeling.
The 20-year-old,who has consistently found it tough to live up the promise he had once shown as a junior,came out blazing. Using his signature stroke,the heavy forehand,to good effect,Bhambri,world No. 279,broke his 250th ranked opponent in the sixth game and celebrated it with a clenched-fist gesture towards his teammates.
The confident gait and fluid court movement that he displayed were quite unlike the Bhambri who is often let down by his fragile body and perhaps an equally fragile mind. Having broken Rungkats resistance in the first,Bhambri,who seemed to have a plan for his rival,took the lead early in the second set as well. Tied 1-1,Rungkat had three game points on his serve,but Bhambri won five straight points to break him.
Despite having a two-set lead,Bhambri did not let the aggression levels dip and broke his opponent twice in the final set before serving out the match. As his hands went up in celebration,words of praise started to flow. Non-playing captain SP Misra said: I had expected his match to be much tougher but Yuki played like a champion. Christopher is not someone who would lose,he needs to be beaten and Yuki beat him today on all fronts.
Rungkat,who has played quite a few close matches against the Indian in the past,said Bhambri was a different player today. Before the match I was confident that I can take Yuki out today but he played unbelievable tennis. His serving was exceptional,his ground strokes were solid,he was returning everything,moving so well. Even his second serve was so effective. There was nothing I could do that would shake his determination. I have known him for ages,and I think that was the best tennis he has ever played, the 23-year-old said. Bhambri,however,attributed it to the advantage of playing when the team were one up,thanks to Devvarman. It kind of helped today to know that the team is already in the drivers seat. You can play more freely after that.
Walk in the park
Devvarman,who has scalped a few top 100 players in the last few weeks,practically sleepwalked to victory against the 18-year-old Wisnu. The gulf in class was so wide,Devvarman had to come to the net quite frequently as his rivals amateurish baseline strokes barely had any depth. All in all it was an embarrassing outing for the Indonesian and at times his moonballs wore the look of badminton shots.
Indonesia can expect more of the same on Saturday when their inexperienced pair of David Agung Susanto and Elbert Sie face Sanam Singh and Leander Paes,who should ensure that there are no hiccups for the hosts in retaining their place in Group 1.