Davis Cup: Bopanna, Sharan save three match points, keep India in World Group I

This is India's first win since it beat Pakistan 4-0 in November 2019. After that India had lost to Finland (1-3) and Croatia (1-3) in away ties.

Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan with the tricolour after winning their doubles match to take a 3-0 lead, at the Delhi Gymkhana in New Delhi on Saturday.   -  V V Krishnan

Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan survived three match points to beat Frederik Nielsen and Mikael Torpegaard 6-7(3), 6-4, 7-6(4) in the doubles rubber that sealed the Davis Cup World group play-off tie for India against Denmark, in front of a capacity crowd at the Delhi Gymkhana Club on Saturday.

The confidence of leading 2-0 overnight with the wins of Ramkumar Ramanathan and Yuki Bhambri in the singles, saw Bopanna and Divij play a superb match, against a high quality fare from the opposite team.

In two of the three match points, the Wimbledon doubles champion Nielsen could not execute a good shot when the opportunity came up, and on the other match point, Bopanna came up with a reflex volley.

Bopanna was spectacular with his game, starting the match with three aces and missing the fourth ‘’by inches’’. Divij on his part mixed up his game and as the captain Rohit Rajpal and coach Zeeshan Ali pointed
out, combined nicely with Bopanna.

He did come up with those second serves under pressure which elicited mistakes from the opponents, owing to the speed and deception.

In the dead fourth rubber, Ramkumar showed a lot of character and desire to come out and play, and overcame the first set loss to beat Johannes Ingildsen in the super tie-break. The fifth match was called
off, even as most of the fans who stayed back wanted more tennis.

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The Danish captain Nielsen was happy with the commitment and fight put up by his team on unfamiliar grass, and expressed his respect and admiration for the Indian players, both in singles and doubles.

He was equally succinct about the doubles loss, pointing out that ‘’we didn’t break serve even once’’.

The match could have opened up to a more thrilling form if Denmark had managed to convert any of those three match points on Divij’s serve in the twelfth game of the decider, but the reigning Asian Games champions were a class act in pulling through for a memorable triumph.

Ramkumar said that the confidence from the Davis Cup performance would help the players in the professional circuit, and expressed gratitude for the strong preparation with the whole team for about a week.

India stays in the World Group of Davis Cup and will wait for the draw to be made to know its opponent for the next tie.

The results: India bt Denmark 4-0 (Rohan Bopanna & Divij Sharan bt Frederik Nielsen & Mikael Torpegaard 6-7(3), 6-4, 7-6(4); Ramkumar Ramanathan bt Johannes Ingildsen 5-7, 7-5, [10-7]).
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