Somdev Devvarman let advantage slip out of hands, losing the opening rubber 7-6 (8) 6-7 (4) 3-6 4-6 to Igor Kunitsyn as India conceded lead to injury-hit Russia in the Davis Cup World Group first round tie in Moscow on Friday.
Somdev had taken control of the first singles match after winning the first set and taking a 5-2 lead in the second set but lost the plot after that in a marathon contest which lasted close to four hours.
Kunitsyn took the court in place of Igor Andreev, who was sidelined due to a left knee injury. Andreev himself was a last minute relacement of injured Nikolay Davydenko.
Due to slow nature of the court, long rallies came into play and rather than the power, it was persistence, precision and stamina that was required to earn points.
These types of courts suit Somdev's game but Kunitsyn was brilliant at the net and his tenacity paid in the end.
Now Rohan Bopanna will take on Mihail Youzhny in the second singles and for India to stand any chance in the tie, a win is the minimum it needed.
Somdev struggled a bit to control his strokes after the first five games of the first set went with serve. That was enough for the Russian to create a break opportunity.