India’s agonising wait to return to the World Group continued as the hosts lost 2-3 to Serbia in the rain-hit playoff tie after Yuki Bhambri surrendered tamely in the decisive fifth rubber against Filip Karjinovic.
Krajinovic turned out to be a hero for the Serbians with his 6-3 6-4 6-4 win as the 2010 champions reclaimed their place in the World Group.
The result means that India will now again fight it out in Asia/Oceania zone in the 2015 season. The last time India had made it to the World Group was in 2011, interestingly losing to Serbia in the first round.
Sunday, till the rain forced suspension of play in the second reverse second singles between the number two players, Yuki was fighting tooth and nail following Somdev Devvarman’s inspiring win over Dusan Lajovic.
However, Yuki did not look the same fighting player as he failed to rein in his unforced errors and failed to grab his chances. Twice Yuki had the opportunity to break Krajinovic and turn it around but he failed to do so.
Coming to the courts this morning, trailing 4-6 4-4, dropping serve was the last thing Yuki needed but he did exactly that and when he had a chance for redemption in the next game, he could not do so.
He squandered two break points when Krajinovic was serving for the second set. Krajinovic though played like a man possessed as he saved the breakpoint with a fiery ace.
The Serbian was precise in his stroke-making and hit winners at will.
Playing a live fifth rubber for the first time, Yuki was far from convincing in his effort as he dropped serve in the first game of the third set at love as Krajonovic raced to a 3-1 lead.
Yuki’s serve deserted him as he won only four points in three service games. He saved himself from falling further by saving two break chances in the fifth. The set went with serve and Krajinovic sealed the tie without any fuss.
In the 114-year-old history of Davis Cup, there have been only 51 instances when nations have came back from 0-2 to win the tie and India have done that only once when they beat Brazil in 2010 in Chennai.
Somdev had won the fourth rubber then and Rohan Bopanna the fifth.
On Saturday, Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna had brought India back with their stunning win in the doubles after the hosts lost both the singles on Friday.
Somdev then pulled off a majestic win in the fourth rubber over Dusan Ljovic to lock the tie 2-2
A disappointed Yuki conceded that he made quite a few mistakes.
“Whatever I did, it did not work. I repeated mistakes. I have not committed more mistakes in my 10-year career that what I did this week,” Yuki said after the match.
“I had chances all week. Maybe I am not used to this kind of position. Twice I was up 30-0 on his serve, he was 15-40 at one stage but I could not take those,” he added.
The youngster said it was frustrating to lose the tie after a fine comeback.
“It’s frustrating since everyone had fought hard. I was not hitting the ball cleanly and made a lot of unforced errors, I was not staying in the points. It’s disappointing that I could not deliver,” he said.