Somdev, Rohan lead India to World Group

Somdev and Bopanna powered India to the Davis Cup World Group with a 3-2 win over Brazil.

Last Updated: Sep 19, 2010, 16:19 PM IST

Chennai: In a stunning turnaround, Somdev
Devvarman and Rohan Bopanna powered India to the elite Davis
Cup World Group by scripting a sensational 3-2 win over Brazil
in the play-off tie here on Sunday.

Making amends for their opening-day defeats, Somdev and
Bopanna downed their higher-ranked rivals in a do-or-die
situation and led India to its first ever win in a Davis Cup
tie from a 0-2 deficit.

Sweden has the most 0-2 comeback wins in the Davis Cup
history with five victories and only once a team has won a
final from 0-2 scoreline when Australia defeated USA in 1939.

A dominant Somdev led 7-6 (3) 4-0 before world number 27
Thomaz Bellucci conceded the first revesre singles, failing to
negotiate hot and humid conditions and thus allowing India to
level the tie 2-2.

The 479th-ranked Bopanna then came out firing on all
cylinders to beat 75th-ranked Ricardo Mello 6-3 7-6(2) 6-3 in
the fifth rubber to complete an amazing come-from-behind win.

Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi had brought India back
in the tie by beating Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares in the
doubles rubber, yesterday.

With their win, Lee-Hesh had take their unbeaten streak
in Davis Cup to 24, the most by any doubles team in the world.

India`s decision to host the tie on hard courts under
trying weather conditions paid as it played an important part
in turning tide in favour if India on the final day.

India were forced into the play-offs after losing to
Russia 2-3 in the World Group first round in Moscow in March.

Brazil now have lost five consecutive play-off ties since
2006.

Bopanna, who had squandered three match-points against
Bellucci on Friday, today showed a lot of control over shots
under crunch situations.

Bopanna won the rubber without dropping his serve as he
saved two set-points in the 10th game of the second set, which
he won in a tie-breaker.

Like the first set, Bopanna broke Mello in the fourth
game of the third set and went onto win comfortably.

After missing two match-points in the eighth game,
Bopanna served out the tie for India in next game.

He fell on the court on his back after dropping a volley
winner, which sealed his and India`s win.

The moment triggered wild celebrations in the Indian camp
as his teammates ran to court and lifted Bopanna on their
shoulders.

Earlier, ranked 113th, Somdev had the upper-hand in the
fourth rubber when the Brazilian world number 27 opted out of
contest.

Somdev put up a brave fight against Bellucci, who also
looked in good nick.

Both of them played some engrossing tennis in the first
set but Bellucci seemed uncomfortable in the second set.

After dropping his serve twice, he walked up to net to
shake hands with Somdev and the chair umpire and left the
court.

Unlike the first singles he played against Bopanna,
Bellucci was spot on with his first serve today and played
beautifully throughout the first set.

He had hit six aces only in his two serve games.

Somdev too showed a lot of heart and gave a tough time to
his superior ranked opponent in the intensely fought first
set.

It was Somdev, who got the first break chance in the
ninth game but Bellucci saved all three and the set was
stretched to a tie-breaker after going on serve.

Bellucci`s game started to wither at crucial points as he
double faulted and committed some unforced errors to hand
Somdev a comfortable 5-1 lead.

Somdev latched on the opportunity and closed the set in
his favour after Bellucci sent a forehand long.

However, the match took an unexpected turn when Bellucci
looked out of sorts and finally threw in the towel.

PTI

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