Yuki fights off ‘pain’  to take India one up

Recovered from mid-match cramps just in time to down Tsung Hua Yang, while Somdev’s match was suspended due to fading light

Indore:Yuki Bhambri fought back just in time to defeat Tsung Hua Yang but Somdev Devvarman’s fate was hanging in balance in the marathon unfinished second singles, suspended due to fading light, as India lead 1-0 in the Asia/Oceania Group I Davis Cup tie, here on Friday.

Yuki fights off ‘pain’  to take India one up

Troubled by cramps in both the legs in the third set, Yuki fought off pain and his sluggish rival for a 6-2 6-4 6-7 (1) 6-3 win in two hours and 52 minutes as he put India ahead in the first round tie.In the second singles, a defensive Somdev was locked in an engrossing battle against an offensive Ti Chen, in which both have won two sets apiece and fifth set was tied 7-7 after four hours and 30 minutes of tennis.

When bad light forced suspension of the match, the score was 6-7 (4) 7-6 (3) 1-6 6-2 7-7.Somdev has squandered four match points, including three in the ninth game of the deciding set, so far and Chen has kept his side’s hopes alive to level the tie with his fighting spirit.

The match will be completed tomorrow before Rohan Bopanna and Saketh Myneni clash with Hsien-Yin Peng and Hsin-Han Lee in the doubles rubber.There was hardly any contest in the opening singles as Yuki hit winner after winner with superb control over his shots and even when he suffered the injury and was limping, Yang failed to take advantage.

It was surprising that Yang did not go for kill even as Yuki was struggling to serve and his movement was restricted severely. Yang had a fantastic opportunity to push Yuki out of the match but he blew away the chance with his error-prone game.

To his credit, Yuki did not give up and kept fighting and his persistence finally paid off.What followed in the next match was engrossing tennis as Chen played a solid game. He just outmanoeuvred Somdev. If Somdev approached net, Chen would past him with blistering winners and when the Indian stayed behind, Chen came up with amazingly calculated drop shots.

His ground strokes were solid and he opened up the court with ease as he made Somdev run on court. Somdev was 4-2 up in the first set and 4-1 in the second but allowed Chen to comeback from those precarious situations. Eventually both the sets were decided via tie-breakers.

Somdev was routed in the third set but to his credit, he refused to throw in the towel and kept playing his style of game, keeping as many balls on the court as possible and waiting for his rival to commit errors. The ploy indeed paid dividends as Chen did provide the Indian an opening by a few unforced errors. Somdev broke Chen twice in the fourth set for a 5-1 lead. He dropped serve in the seventh game but Chen double faulted at 30-40 to allow the match to be stretched to the fifth set.

Now it was a game of nerves and Chen did lose control over his shots a bit. Earlier he was finding the lines but now they were going wide and long. One such error handed Somdev a break and a 5-3 lead but the Indian despite being up 40-0, failed to serve out the match.

Somdev had another match point in the next game but could not cash in on. In the first match, Yuki was dominating the contest with stupendous control over his shots. He kept the ball in and targeted the lines for winners. There was hardly anything that Yuki hit out.

Yang started to struggle after a disputed call in the fifth game, when he was facing two break points. Yang thought he has served an ace but the linesman had called it out which the umpire did not notice. Yang had no option but to go for a second serve. He somehow saved the first chance but Yuki smashed a forehand winner to convert the breakpoint for a 3-2 lead.

The Indian consolidated the lead in the next game, which he served out with his first ace of the match. Yuki set up the points with ease, especially the easy put away volleys and was consistently hitting winners. Yang was struggling to keep the ball in as unforced errors crept into his game. In no time, Yuki was up 5-2 and he served out the set in just 32 minutes.

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