Davis Cup: Bopanna-Ramanathan lose must-win doubles match, Finland takes tie 3-1

Rohan Bopanna and Ramkumar Ramanathan lost the crucial match 6-7(2), 6-7(2) to Henri Kontinen and Harri Heliovaara in one hour and 38 minutes.

Henri Kontinen (Left) and Harri Heliovaara (Right) during their 7-6 (2), 7-6 (2) win over India's Rohan Bopanna and Ramkumar Ramanathan at the Espoo Metro Arena on Saturday.   -  FINNISH TENNIS ASSOCIATION

The Indian hopes of a revival were dashed as Harri Heliovaara and Henri Kontinen sealed the decisive doubles for host Finland with a 7-6(2), 7-6(2) victory over Rohan Bopanna and Ramkumar Ramanathan in the third rubber on the second day of the Davis Cup World Group tie at the Espoo Metro Arena on Saturday.

With Finland having won both the singles matches on the opening day through Otto Virtanen and Emil Ruusuvuori, against Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Ramkumar respectively, the onus was on India to keep the tie alive.

Hoping to capitalise on the 26-year-old Ramkumar’s big game on the indoor court, the Indian team brought him for the doubles in place of Divij Sharan, who has surprisingly played only two doubles matches in Davis Cup so far.

Ramkumar did combine well with Bopanna, but the Finnish pair handled the tie-break with assurance and authority to tilt the tie in its favour.

READ MORE: Raducanu's grandmother wanted her to quit tennis after Wimbledon health scare

"They played a much higher level together. In the tie-breaks, they were a better team’’, conceded Bopanna after the match.

Both the teams did not face a breakpoint in the first set, and the host took an early lead in the tie-break by hammering a return winner on Bopanna’s serve. The Finnish team took a 6-1 lead before Bopanna retrieved a face-saving point with a backhand return winner.

Into the second set, there was more resolve in the Indian team as it broke for a 2-0 lead, but Bopanna dropped his serve in the next game that saw the team’s hopes of a revival evaporate.

Kontinen and Heliovaara did face four breakpoints in the eighth game, but survived to stay on course for the tie-break in which they were once again efficient.

The Finns won a tough rally to go up 6-2 that brought the fans to their feet. The doubles rubber was sealed on the next point in an hour and 38 minutes.

In the inconsequential reverse singles match, Prajnesh Gunneswaran beat the 489th ranked Patrik Niklas-Salminen 6-3, 7-5 in a battle of left-handers.

India will go back to the World Group play-off next year.

The results:

Finland beat India 3-1

Harri Heliovaara & Henri Kontinen bt Rohan Bopanna & Ramkumar Ramanathan 7-6(2), 7-6(2) Patrik Niklas-Salminen lost to Prajnesh Gunneswaran 3-6, 5-7)

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :