Namangan (Uzbekistan): India got off to a worst possible start in their Asia Ocenia Group I Davis Cup tie losing both the singles matches against Uzbekistan who took a 2-0 lead on Thursday.
Rookies Sanam Singh, 24, and the 20-year-old Yuki Bhambri lost their singles matches in straight sets against Denis Istomin and Farrukh Dustov respectively in what turned out to be lop-sided contests. To stay alive in the tie, India will again have to depend on their seasoned doubles pair of Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna to pull one back so that reverse singles matches will remain consequential.
Uzbeks got off the blocks in style as their top-ranked player Denis Istomin defeated debutant Sanam Singh in straight sets to give his country 1-0 lead. The tie, which is being held at the Sports Complex in Pahlavon, saw world No 43 Istomin dominating right from the start to register an easy 6-3 6-2 6-4 win.
In the second match of the day, world No 262 Dustov beat the talented Bhambri 6-4 6-4 6-3 in a match which was slightly better as a contest compared to the first one. For the inexperienced Sanam making his Davis Cup debut, facing a Top-50 player on clay court was always going to be a difficult proposition as he surrendered meekly to 25-year-old Uzbek who has recently defeated American Andy Roddick in an ATP event in the US.
Asian Games gold medallist Sanam is primarily a hard court specialist and found it difficult indulging long rallies with much experiences opponent. Adding to his woes, he made a number of unforced errors to make matters worse.
In the second match, one expected world No 295 Yuki to put in more effort against Dustov and he did put up a fight in the first two sets before going out of steam in the third set.