Busan: India stood one win away from securing a berth in the World Group play-offs after Rohan Bopanna and Saketh Myneni defeated Hyung-Taik Lee and Lim Yong-Kyu in the crucial doubles match of their second round Asia/Oceania Group I tie, against South Korea, on Saturday.
Bopanna and Myneni prevailed 7-6 (4), 5-7, 7-6 (2), 6-3 to give India a 2-1 lead after Day one had ended 1-1.
“Great effort and win by @rohanbopanna and saketh to get the doubles point and give us a 2 1 lead. way to go boys. #DavisCup #TeamIndia,” tweeted Sanam Singh, who had lost in the opening singles on Friday, after the match. Pairing up for only the second time in their career, Bopanna and Myneni staved off the challenge posed by Hyung-Taik and Lim in a see-saw battle which became lop-sided by the fourth set.
India are now on the verge of beating Korea for the first time in an away tie. They also have a chance to improve on the overall head-to-head record which stands at 3-6. The last time the two teams played was in 2013 when the Koreans beat India 4-1 in New Delhi in the absence of top players, who boycotted the tie.
India are coming into this tie after having blanked Taipei 5-0 while the hosts had got a bye in the first round as one of the top seeds and are seeking a World Group play-off berth for the first time since 2008.
On Day One, 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.
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 along with Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, got the chance to play after Yuki Bhambri pulled out of the tie due to a foot injury.