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Davis Cup: Rosol beats Bhambri, Devvarman triumphs over Vesley

World number 164 Somdev Devvarman beat 40th-ranked Jiri Vesely 7-6 (3), 6-4, 6-3 in the second singles rubber of the Davis Cup World Group Playoff tie against Czech Republic in New Delhi’s RK Khanna tennis stadium on Friday to level the five-match series 1-1 at the end of the first day.

tennis Updated: Sep 18, 2015 20:24 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Lukas Rosol,Yuki Bhambri,Davis Cup
Somdev Devvarman beat Jiri Vesely 7-6 (3), 6-4, 6-3 in the second singles rubber of the Davis Cup World Group Playoff tie against Czech Republic, on September 18, 2015.(AFP File Photo)

Murphy’s Law states: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

After Czech Republic’s Lukas Rosol made short work of India’s Yuki Bhambri, not many punters would have put their money on Somdev Devvarman to level the tie 1-1 at the end of the day.

However, the world No 165 had plans of his own. Devvarman utilised the increasingly humid conditions with an aggressive strategy to beat Jiri Vesley 7-6 (3) 6-4 6-3.

The 30-year-old took the attack to the world No 40, engaging in a baseline slugfest from the very first game and keeping the 6-feet 6-inch Vesely busy in long rallies. The first three games lasted 28 minutes and saw 20 deuces. While the scoreboard read 2-1 in favour of the Czech -- with Devvarman failing to convert any of his four break points -- the seeds had been sown as the combination of an unusually physical Devvarman and Delhi’s harsh conditions wore Vesely down.

What also worked was the fact that Devvarman was the superior server on the day. The 30-year-old, who admitted it was “one of the very best days of serving” of his career, sent down 20 aces as compared to his opponent’s zero. That is not to say that Vesely didn’t do well, as the southpaw troubled Devvarman with his fierce first serves.

However, Devvarman capitalised on the Czech’s second serve, getting on top of the bounce and hitting 18 return winners – a tactic he practiced extensively against left-handed local player Divij Sharan on the match’s eve.

After winning the first set in a tie-breaker, it was all a matter of time. Devvarman kept chipping away by rolling the ball and hitting it deep. Even though the Indian lost his serve in the second set, he broke back and soon took the game away from Vesely.

Earlier, world No 85 Rosol secured a 6-2, 6-1, 7-5 victory over local lad Bhambri. The world No 85 took advantage of the slightly cooler morning and finished the game in 1 hour and 55 minutes. The big-hitting Rosol served in the range of 190-210 kmph -- firing 11 aces -- and overwhelmed Bhambri with his flat groundstrokes.

Though Bhambri came into his own against an increasingly subdued Rosol in the third set, he failed to break the Czech despite five opportunities in the tenth game. After that, it was only a matter of time before Rosol closed out the contest.

First Published: Sep 18, 2015 16:36 IST