close
This ad will auto close in 10 seconds

Davis Cup, Day 1: Saketh Myneni, Ramkumar Ramanathan give India 2-0 lead against South Korea

The 28-year-old Myneni, who played his first ever five-setter, threw his jersey and punched the air, to celebrate his victory. His teammates lifted him on the shoulders, acknowledging the grit showed in a tough contest.

Davis Cup, Day 1: Saketh Myneni, Ramkumar Ramanathan give India 2-0 lead against South Korea

Chandigarh: Saketh Myneni and Ramkumar Ramanathan endured challenging conditions to wear down their spirited rivals as India took a comfortable 2-0 lead on the opening day of the Asia|Oceania group I Davis Cup tie against South Korea here today.

It seemed bizarre but both Ramkumar and Myneni saw their opponents conceding when the Indians were serving for their respective matches.

The 21-year-old Ramkumar, ranked 217, put the hosts ahead in his Davis Cup debut when Seong Chan Hong conceded the first singles due to cramps in his right thigh as the Indian was serving for the match.

After battling hard for two hours and 36 minutes, Ramkumar was leading 6-3 2-6 6-3 6-5 (15-15) when Hong suddenly clenched his right thigh and grimaced in pain, bringing about a sudden end to the match at the Chandigarh Club.

Since the rain has been lashing the city for the past few days, it made the grass soggy. The surface was dry but it turned out to be a dead court where the ball hardly rose to the knee height.

However, the surface improved when Myneni played as the ball was bouncing a lot better. The onus to bring Korea back was on the most experienced player of the side, Yong-Kyu Lim, but Myneni dashed their hopes with a 6-1 3-6 6-4 3-6 5-2 win to set India up nicely.

Lim conceded the match when Myneni was 15-15 and serving for the match in the eighth game. It was after the two players fought tooth and nail for three hours and nine minutes.

The 28-year-old Myneni, who played his first ever five-setter, threw his jersey and punched the air, to celebrate his victory. His teammates lifted him on the shoulders, acknowledging the grit showed in a tough contest.

The second singles was littered with medical timeouts and a long toilet break as both players started to struggle with cramps from the fourth set onwards.

Myneni, who has a high sweat rate, was fighting a battle with himself too as he struggled to stand but endured the torrid time to come out triumphant.

The hot and humid conditions tested fitness of the players even as the Koreans negotiated the grass courts, on which they hardly play, quite well. They had done their homework and made life tough for both Ramkumar and Myneni.

Surprisingly, it was the Koreans who approached the net more than the Indians, who are far more accustomed to playing on grass. They had played a lot on the grass in the run-up to the Wimbledon.

Rohan Bopanna and Leander Paes will look to wrap up the tie when they face Hong Chung and Yunseong Chung tomorrow.

In complete contrast to the first match, Myneni made a dominating start by sealing the first set in no time as he broke Lim twice to race to a 5-1 lead.

True to his game, the lanky Myneni served extremely well, hardly conceded points on his serve and wrapped up the first set quickly.

Lim though managed to raise his game and matched Myneni's level from the second set onwards. It was 4-3 when the 25-year-old Korean capitalised on Myneni's double faults to get crucial break and levelled the match in the next game.

A flurry of unforced errors meant that Myneni was now facing three breakpoints in the opening game of the third set. He was broken at love and India had reasons for concern.

Much to the relief of the home camp though, Lim served a double fault at 30-40 in the fourth game as Myneni neutralised the break. Lim staved off three breakpoints in the eighth game that saw five deuce points being fought off by the two players.

Lim managed to hold that but suffered reversal in the 10th. Lim's attempted lob went long, giving Myneni his first set point, but the Indian netted a backhand on that. Myneni found a forehand winner to earn his second set point and converted on Lim's unforced error.

Lim refused to throw in the towel and kept fighting. He broke Myneni in the fifth game to create a mini lead. It became both mental and physical battle as both Myneni and Lim started cramping.

The Indian had four break chances in the eighth game to get back the break but could convert none. Worse, he was on ground in the next game, cramping badly and conceded the game to surrender the fourth set.

It was an extreme struggle for Myneni to keep going. He was egged on by the little crowd that had gathered and by his teammates. He broke Lim in the very first game that was followed by a long toilet break. Myneni played some smart tennis by keeping the points short with his big serve.

The Korean again lost serve in the fifth game and when Lim fell on his back when Myneni was serving for the match in the seventh game, he could not recover from this bout of cramps.

Earlier, the bad surface prevented the first match from rising in terms of quality. There was no pace at all and merely keeping the ball in the court was a struggle for the players.

The sun was not exactly blazing but the humidity made the playing conditions more challenging and the Korean was clearly wilting.

Ramkumar, who relied mostly on backhand slice, was also struggling but he broke the Korean in the seventh game when Hong netted a backhand and the Indian converted the breakpoint with a trademark inside out forehand winner.

From Zee News

0 Comment - Join the Discussions

trending

photo gallery

video