Home advantage and the form of Yen-hsun Lu were the two factors being reiterated as the main points for India to think about as they prepared for their Davis Cup zonal second-round tie. But on Sunday,Somdev Devvarman showed they certainly didnt cause him much worry as he packed off the oppositions top-ranked player Lu world No 59 in a confident display at the Yang Ming tennis centre in Kiaohsiung,Chinese Taipei that needed no more than straight sets. His 6-1 6-2 6-3 victory in the final days first match handed India a place in the next round,as well as a chance to play Australia at home,and rendered Rohan Bopannas clash with Chen Ti meaningless. The Indian lost 6-2 6-7 7-6 to make the final tie score 3-2.
This weekend in March,though,will be remembered for the youngest member of Indias Davis Cup team keeping the promise he has shown in the past. Backed by a series of wins over higher-ranked players since turning pro last year,Devvarman was exuding optimism before the tie.
On Sunday,he said he was certain of winning. I have a lot of respect for Lu but I also have a lot of confidence in my abilities. My plan was to make him work hard and earn every point. I knew the pressure was on him to get that win and by not giving him any opportunities,I kept making that hill steeper to climb, Somdev told The Indian Express. Im very happy with the way I played today. I think I played a really solid match. But more importantly,I am happy because I won a crucial tie-deciding match for my country.
At the same time last year,the battles in Indias Davis Cup team made for more news than matters on court,but the 24-year-old describes the current atmosphere in the team as the best. It feels great. Its been an incredible week. The whole team has worked really hard as one unit. There was a great atmosphere in the dressing room which really helped me. I cant thank everyone enough for their support and encouragement. This win means a lot to all of us, he said.
Non-playing captain SP Mishra was all praise: We all knew he (Devvarman) would give his best against Lu,but such an easy win was unexpected. Somdev did extremely well,he kept himself hydrated,pushed Lu all the way,and didnt let up the pressure at all.