Davis Cup 2019 Qualifier: Seppi humbles Prajnesh, Italy wins 3-1

Follow live scores and updates from the Davis Cup 2019 qualifier between India and Italy.

Prajnesh Gunneswaran faces Andreas Seppi in the fourth rubber.   -  Debasish Bhaduri

Welcome to Sportstar's live blog of the Davis Cup 2019 qualifier between India and Italy at the Calcutta South Club.

It's been a disappointing outing for the Indians. Their gamble to play on grasscourts didn't pay off as they succumbed to a 3-1 defeat to the Italians. The doubles duo of Bopanna and Sharan did remarkably well to offer India a glimmer of hope but Prajnesh was no match for Seppi.

Italy advances to the Davis Cup final round, while India will have to wait another year to have a shot at making it there.

 

2 pm: That's the win. Andreas Seppi cruises past Prajnesh Gunneswaran to win 6-1, 6-4 and steers Italy to a 3-1 victory. The Indians are officially knocked out.

1:52 pm: What an intensely-fought seventh game this! Prajnesh saves three break points and wins the game off the fifth deuce. Seppi remains ahead at 4-3.

1:41 pm: Prajnesh holds serve to make it 2-3 and remain in the hunt for the second set. The Indian has looked a tad better in the second set but has a lot to do if he is to restore parity.

1:34 pm: SEPPI BREAKS AGAIN. An erratic Prajnesh makes far too many unforced errors and gifts the third game to the Italian. Seppi leads 2-1 in the second set.

1:18 pm: And that's the opening set. A flawless display from Seppi sees him break the Indian's serve twice and clinch the opening set 6-1 in quick time. Prajnesh, who has been completely outplayed so far, faces a steep, if not gargantuan, challenge of making a comeback in the second set.

1:16 pm: BREAK! Prajnesh plays an inside out forehand and advances to the net but has no response to Seppi's powerful forehand down-the-line and the Italian is now serving for the set at 5-1.

1:12 pm: Boy, Prajnesh is in a spot of bother here. He trails 1-4 in the first set with just over 15 minutes played! Seppi is making the Indian toil hard under the sun and has him scrambling from one end of the court to the other.

1:03 pm Prajnesh loses his service game early on, following yesterday's script. He saves two break points before hitting a forehand long. 2-0 to Seppi.

12:59 pm Andreas Seppi serves first and takes the first game without much of a challenge from Prajnesh. Much better start from Seppi, who took some time to find his feet yesterday. 1-0 to the Italian.

Today's second match will see top-ranked Indian tennis star Prajnesh Gunneswaran take on World number 37 Andreas Seppi. Italy leads 2-1 and needless to say, this match is also a must-win for the Indians.

12:32 pm: The astounding victory has given the Indians a new lease of life and they're now one win away from getting back to level terms. Prajnesh takes on Seppi, can he cause an upset?

The comeback is on!

 

12:28 pm: What an enthralling tenth game this was! Bopanna's serves gave India a 30-0 lead but a double fault and successive errors saw Italy claim a break point. But an exquisite ace followed by two fine serves saw the Indian duo clinch the much-awaited win. The Indians conceded the opening set but made an astonishing comeback to clinch the next two sets to cap off a phenomenal 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win.

12:20 pm: OH THERE'S THE ALL-IMPORTANT BREAK! Bolelli has his serve broken as the Indians take a crucial 5-4 lead in this final set. They're all of one game away from the win!

12:13 pm: Both teams hold serves and after the initial trade of breaks, the Italians lead 4-3 in this deciding third set. A quick reminder, the Indians are 2-0 down and simply have to win this match to remain in the tie.

12:08 pm: BREAK! Wow, the Indians break right back! Berrettini's return finds the net as the determined Indians claw their way back into the set to make it 2-3. Bopanna to serve now, can the Indians get back on level terms?

12:01 pm: ADVANTAGE ITALY! Sharan has his back against the wall as the Italians soar to a 15-40 lead in the fourth game. He manages to hold serve until deuce but the Italians are too strong and take a 3-1 lead in the third set. 

11:48 am: THE INDIANS ARE BACK IN IT! Sharan spectacularly saves three break points and the Indian duo bags the second set 6-2. The early break gave the Indians a new-found sense of confidence as they saved a total of four break points in a much-improved display in the second set. We're now on to the decider!

11:37 am: This is getting better for the Indians. Bolelli earns a breakpoint on Bopanna's serve and the Indian gathers his nerves really well to deny the Italians and put India 5-2 ahead.

11:31 am: BREAK FOR THE INDIANS! Sharan plays a peach of a drop shot to earn India its first breakpoint and Bolelli's return finds the net to hand India the break. Sharan continues to impress as he stages a love-hold the following game to take India to a 4-1 lead.

11:23 am: Much like the opening set, the first three games have gone on serves. Sharan's powerful volley at the net makes it 2-1 in India's favour, much to the joy of the noisy crowd. Every Indian point is met with a round of applause and the occasional beating of the drums as well. Quite the atmosphere!

11:14 am: SET. The Indians looked the better team for most part of the opening set but the break in the ninth game proved to be detrimental. Berrettini comfortably holds serve to clinch the opening set 6-4.

11:10 am: BREAK! Bopanna's serve is broken as the Italians capitalise on their first break point of the match to take a 5-4 lead. Bolelli's massive forehand return forced Bopanna to take the ball on the half-volley and dump it into the net to make it 30-40 and his wayward volley the next point gave Italy the lead.

11:03 am: Sharan isn't the biggest server but he does extremely well to place his serve well beyond Berrettini's reach to seal the seventh game. The Indian duo has combined really well at the net thus far and has pushed the Italians into making the unforced errors. Italy trails 3-4.

10:58 am: The Indians came within sniffing distance of a break by forcing the fourth game to deuce, but Bolelli collected his nerves to hold serve. Berrettini, who is traditionally a singles player, hasn't got his  court positioning right just yet. The huge-serving Bopanna ensures India remains ahead at 3-2.

10:49 am: It's a game of serves thus far. Berrettini holds serve and Sharan does the same with relative ease to guide India to a 2-1 lead. 

10:44 am: And we're off! A thunderous Rohan Bopanna serve down the T seals the opening game as the Indians take the first game. It's a warm sunny Saturday morning on Kolkata and the crowd has turned up in numbers.

10:42 am: Alright, here's an update. Marco Cecchinato isn't playing the doubles match! He's been replaced by Matteo Berrettini. What happened there?

10:40 am: Non-playing Indian captain Mahesh Bhupathi feels the Indians are in for a tough day ahead, but is confident of a comeback. “We’ve done it against China recently [coming back from 2-0 down]. But Italy is much better side. We knew we had a job on hand before the opening day. And we still have a job now but only that it’s harder. If you lose initiative, you are behind the eight ball immediately. Only way to turn the table is to now to win the doubles and get some momentum,” he said yesterday.

10:35 am: TRIVIA: In the history of Davis Cup, India has come back from 2-0 down just twice -- in 2010 against Brazil and in 2018 versus China. In both, Bopanna and current captain Mahesh Bhupathi had integral roles. In 2010, Bhupathi won the doubles and Bopanna the decisive fifth rubber. In the China tie, played under Bhupathi, Bopanna secured the doubles. Will there be a redux today?

10:30 am: The Italians were at their clinical best to cruise to a comfortable 2-0 lead on Friday. Andreas Seppi took a while to get used to the grass but went on to defeat Ramkumar Ramanathan 6-4, 6-2, while Matteo Berrettini had no difficulty in getting past Prajnesh Gunneswaran in straight sets.

Day one report: Italians sizzle on grass, coast to 2-0 lead

Today's fixtures:

Rohan Bopanna & Divij Sharan vs. Simone Bolelli & Marco Cecchinato

Followed by

Prajnesh vs Andreas Seppi

Followed by

Ramkumar vs. Matteo Berrettini

 

In other news from the Davis Cup:

  • Alexander Zverev and Philipp Kohlschreiber gave Germany a 2-0 lead over Hungary when the revamped Davis Cup qualifiers got under way on Friday, while Australia and Russia are also in command of their ties.
  • La Liga has agreed a deal to become an official sponsor of the Davis
  • New-look Davis Cup set for litmus test.
  • The removal of five-set matches and major changes to the schedule of the Davis Cup have been branded as ridiculous by Lleyton Hewitt.