A dominant Somdev Devvarman led 7-6 (3) 4-0 before Thomaz Bellucci conceded his first reverse singles match to allow India to level the World Group play-off tie against Brazil 2-2 in Chennai today.
Ranked 113th, Somdev had the upperhand in the fourth rubber when the Brazilian world number 27 opted out of contest. According to the information received so far, Bellucci encountered some breathing problem due to humid conditions and was unable to continue.
If Rohan Bopanna beats Ricardo Mello in the fifth and final rubber later today, India would reclaim a berth in the elite 16-team World Group. Both Bopanna and Somdev had lost the singles on the opening day of the tie on Friday.
Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi kept the Indian chances alive in the tie by beating Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares in doubles yesterday. Coming into the fourth rubber in a do-or-die situation, Somdev put up a brave fight against Bellucci, who also looked in good nick.
Both of them played some engrossing tennis in the first set but Bellucci seemed uncomfortable in the second set. After dropping his serve twice, he walked up to net to shake hands with Somdev and the chair umpire and left the court.