Davis Cup: Ramkumar, Sumit raze Pakistan on Day One

Indians take a 2-0 lead in the tie; Ramkumar Ramanathan blanks Muhammad Shoaib and Sumit Nagal overcomes Hufaiza Mohammed Rehman.

File Photo: Ramkumar Ramanathan obtained a 6-0, 6-0 win in 42 minutes.   -  R. Ragu

India raced to a 2-0 lead in its Davis Cup tie against Pakistan as Ramkumar Ramanathan and Sumit Nagal toyed with their teen rivals here on Friday. The Indians lost just two games during the day.

In a mismatch of epic proportion, Ramkumar double-bageled 17-year-old Muhammed Shoaib in just 42 minutes in the opening singles. The only time Shoaib made it look like a match was in the sixth game of the second set when he stretched Ramkumar to two deuce points.

Sumit Nagal then earned his first-ever Davis Cup win, beating Hufaiza Mohammed Rehman 6-0, 6-2 in the second singles which lasted 64 minutes. Pakistan badly missed its top players who pulled out.

‘Happy’

“I gave my best in every point. We are happy with 2-0 on the first day. Now we are looking forward to see Jee (Jeevan) and Leander fire some bombs tomorrow. Let’s get the job done,” said Ramkumar, who also thanked fans who had gathered to support them.

The first contest was one-sided, but in the second, promising Pakistani youngster Hufaiza resisted Nagal as much as possible by engaging the Indian in long rallies. Twice, he pushed Nagal to deuce points in the second game of the second set and finally put Pakistan on board by holding the third game after squandering four game points.

Read | Timeline of events in lead-up to IND v PAK contest

He returned and dished out another hold, staying close to Nagal. However, it just delayed the inevitable as Nagal wrapped up the match in the eighth game. “I started decently and finished it pretty strong. [Ramkumar and I] had lot of fire today. We did not want to lose. They are juniors but they played well and did whatever they could. The guy I played came up with some really good shots. He played to his potential but has a long way to go,” said Nagal.

"I started decently and finished it pretty strong." - Sumit Nagal on his contest. File Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

 

“Tomorrow it’s going to be pretty similar [scoreline],” predicted Nagal.

‘Fantastic day’

India’s non-playing captain Rohit Rajpal, too, was pleased with the performance. “It is a fantastic day for India. Ram gave us a nice start, winning in quick time. The second match was little tighter and tough, though it looked simple. Sumit kept the level high and came through with flying colours,” he said.

Veteran Leander Paes and debutant Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan will now look to seal the tie when they clash with Hufaiza and Shoaib in the doubles rubber on Saturday. India has never lost a tie to Pakistan in six meetings so far and a loss doesn’t look likely.

A win on Saturday will stretch Paes’ record for most number of doubles wins in Davis Cup history. He is leading the chart with 43 wins. “It will be interesting to see how the Pakistan youngsters cope with our world class players. Let’s see how it goes,” said Rajpal.

The winner of the tie will travel to Croatia for the World Group Qualifiers, to be held on March 6-7.