Ramkumar Ramanathan put India on course for a clean-sweep against Uzbekistan by outwitting Sanjar Fayziev to give the hosts a 4-0 lead in the Asia/Oceania Group I Davis Cup tie, here today.
Ramkumar had no trouble in dispatching his rival 6-3 6-2 in just 67 minutes in the first reverse singles on the final day of the second round tie at the KSLTA stadium.
Left-handed Prajnesh Gunneswaran will now take on Temur Ismailov and if he manages to win, it will be India’s first whitewash since February 2014 when they hammered Chinese Taipei.
Fayziev struggled to adjust to the bounce and speed of the court while Ramkumar turned it into his advantage. He consistently sent down bouncy serves, enticing errors from his opponent.
In his first service game, Fayziev was down 0-40 and was broken when he smashed an overhead volley long and wide on the second breakpoint.
Ramkumar quickly ran away with a 3-0 lead with an easy hold and could have been 4-0 up when Fayziev committed three consecutive double faults but the Uzbek managed to hold.
A backhand passing winner handed Ramkumar a breakpoint in the sixth game but the Uzbek served well to save that.
The Indian also approached the net better in the opening set, easily putting away Fayziev’s feeble returns from the baseline. He served out the set in the ninth game.
After squandering two break chances in the opening game of the second set, Ramkumar earned a third with a brilliant lob and converted when Fayziev fluffed a volley.
Fayziev served better in the following games and returned well but Ramkumar still managed to get another break in the seventh game to open up a 5-2 lead and served out the match in the next game.