Busan: Somdev Dev Varman had to dig deep into his reservoir of experience to tame a fighting Hyeon Chung, but Sanam Singh lost the second singles to Yong-Kyu Lim, leaving India and Korea locked at 1-1 on day one of their second round Asia/Oceania Group I tie, on Friday.
Somdev was severely tested by a player, who was making his Davis Cup debut and ranked 289 places below him, before prevailing 7-6 (4), 7-6 (3), 6-4 after three hours and thirty minutes of intense tennis in the opening singles.
The 17-year-old Korean, who had ended runner-up in the Wimbledon junior championship last year, showed that he was progressing well but ultimately fell short against a player who does not give up easily.
Chung had Somdev gasping in the marathon rubber as he led 4-1 and 5-2 in the first two sets but the Indian saved his side from major embarrassment with a stunning comeback.
Sanam, chosen ahead of tall and big-serving Saketh Myneni, though could not make it an all-win day for India as he lost 6-7 (5), 4-6, 4-6 to Korea’s No. 1 player Lim in the second rubber, which lasted two hours and 45 minutes.
Sanam, who was originally drafted as a reserve, got the chance to play after Yuki Bhambri pulled out of the tie due to a foot injury.
Rohan Bopanna and Saketh Myneni now need to win the doubles rubber on Saturday against Hyung-Taik Lee and Sang-Woo Noh to ease off the pressure on the team. A victory will leave India requiring only one point on the last day to secure a berth to the World Group play-offs.