"The opposition was better." It was a simple statement but the best to explain India's 0-3 loss to sixth-seeded China in the Asia/Oceania final qualifying stage of the Junior Davis Cup at DLTA on Tuesday.
The Indian under-16 boys cried out loud and threw tantrums on court while their Chinese opponents remained calm and focussed on the job. The defeat means that India are out of contention for a quarterfinal berth and will be fighting to retain a place in the top-15 of the event.
For India No. 2, Fatehdeep Singh, it was the same story as yesterday. Making unforced errors and committing double faults, he was overpowered by Ze-Yu Li 4-6, 3-6 in one-and-a-half hours.
In the second singles, Shaik Abdullah began well. He ran around the court, rallied and forced his opponent, Si-Yu Liu, to make errors. However, his luck ran out soon. The Chinese youngster rectified his mistakes and took control of the match. Even though Abdullah tried hard, he had a problem finishing his shots and finally, after an hour and 15 minutes, the scoreboard read 3-6, 0-6.
The doubles tie proved to be a disaster. Singh and Garvit Batra were simply outplayed by Li and Zhi-Cheng Zhu 1-6, 2-6 in less than an hour. The Indian boys couldn't find their rhythm and, to top it all, didn't make an effort to run for the ball.
"They were better than us," said a visibly disappointed Vishal Uppal, the team captain. "We take on Sri Lanka tomorrow (Wednesday) and must beat them. If we do, we will then play for the 9-12 positions. If we lose, we will fight for the 13-15 positions. Hopefully, tomorrow will yield a better result."