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India lacking arsenal for miracle in Bangalore

India's challenge on the opening day of the Davis Cup World Group qualifying tie on Friday seemed to lack the all-crucial self-belief which may have made the miracle of downing a tennis giant like Serbia possible.

sports Updated: Sep 13, 2014 02:46 IST
Sukhwant Basra

It is human nature to hope for miracles. Those, however, demand a certain collusion of the elements. There has to be loads of belief, single mindedness of faith and, perhaps above all, perseverance in the face of a disbelieving multitude.

India's challenge on the opening day of the Davis Cup World Group qualifying tie on Friday seemed to lack the all-crucial self-belief which may have made the miracle of downing a tennis giant like Serbia possible.

Our wannabe Davids just did not have enough arsenal in their respective slingshots to tame the foreigners who after a few opening jitters seemed to be more at home on court than our guys. This is not a piece that looks to lynch our boys for they lost two tennis matches. Both Yuki Bhambri and Somdev Devvarman were just not on top of their game and they caved in to the pressure of playing for their country in front of their home crowd.

Even more important, they both seemed to have left their A games at home and turned up bereft of the sort of game plan that would work against an opposition which had clearly done its homework when it came to an arena that was meant to give our lot the advantage.

Flawed logic

The logic of choosing Bangalore for a tie against hard hitters with big serves has been proved to be terribly flawed. The fellows having a hassle with the speed of the ball were our lot, not the guys from abroad. Bhambri seemed to have developed a strange ability to crack the ball with his frame instead of the strings while Devvarman was found wanting in generating pace and depth.

Bhambri was candid in admitting that he got it all wrong. That instead of forcing the issue and rushing his opponent he chose to play from the baseline and that proved to be his undoing. One of the best attributes of this 22-year-old from Delhi is that he talks straight. However, one does wonder if his cockiness - always a plus when it comes to a tennis player - has turned into a form of arrogance that does not allow him to take in the views of his more experienced comrades in the team. Strategy apart, Bhambri was found wanting in match sharpness as he let slip the opportunities that came his way.

Too heavy for Som

Devvarman stays the guy with the never-say-die attitude but was no match for an opponent that took the ball early and then proceeded to bludgeon the felt off it with ripping ground strokes.

The Indian counter puncher does have trouble against hard hitters who do not allow him the slugging duels that he thrives on. Filip Krajinovic clearly played with the abandon of the underdog but creditably did not take his foot off the gas even when he was speeding away to take the lead.

Unlike most Davis Cup rookies he also brought his flight to stardom home safe instead of crashing when the pressure of a win could have surmounted the abandon of being the underdog.

On Saturday, Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna take on Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac in what promises to be a cracker of a contest. Paes' reflexes and clever feints coupled with Bopanna's bazooka serves are bound to serve up fare more appetizing for the home crowd.



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