Somdev Devvarman had to dig deep into his reservoir of experience to tame a fighting Hyeon Chung but Sanam Singh lost the second singles to Yong-Kyu Lim, leaving India and Korea locked at 1-1 on day one of their second round Asia/Oceania Group I tie.
Somdev was severely tested by a player who was making his Davis Cup debut and ranked 289 places below him before prevailing 7-6 (4) 7-6(3) 6-4 after three hours and thirty minutes of intense tennis in the opening singles.
The 17-year old Korean, who had ended runner-up in the Wimbledon junior championship last year, showed that he was progressing well but ultimately fell short against a player who does not give up easily. Chung had Somdev gasping in the marathon rubber as he led 4-1 and 5-2 in the first two sets but the Indian saved his side from major embarrassment with a stunning comeback.
Sanam, chosen ahead of tall and big-serving Saketh Myneni, though could not make it an all-win day for India as he lost 6-7 (5) 4-6 4-6 to Korea’s number one player Lim in the second rubber, which lasted two hours and 45 minutes.
Sanam, who was originally drafted as a reserve along with Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, got the chance to play after Yuki Bhambri pulled out of the tie due to a foot injury. India could have been in a very embarrassing position had Somdev not regrouped after falling behind twice at Spo1 Tennis Courts.
The Koreans were the underdogs to start with but they showed the visitors that tie would not be a walk in the park for them. The result means that Rohan Bopanna and Saketh Myneni must win in the doubles rubber against Hyung-Taik Lee and Sang-Woo Noh to ease off the pressure on the team. It will be the second time that seasoned Bopanna and Myneni will play together in a Davis Cup tie.
A victory will leave India requiring only one point on the last day to secure a berth to the World Group play-offs.