Davis Cup: Bopanna-Somdev lose marathon doubles match, India down 1-2 (Lead)

March 6th, 2011 - 1:27 am ICT by IANS  

Rohan Bopanna Novi Sad (Serbia), March 5 (IANS) India’s Rohan Bopanna and Somdev Devvarman dug in deep but could not stop Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac from giving defending champions Serbia a crucial 2-1 lead in a nerve-wracking doubles encounter on the second day of the Davis Cup World Group here Saturday.

The Indians took the first set but then went down 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-7(10) in a three hour, 12 minute rubber where tempers ran high and numerous debates raged from both the camps over some contentious line calls.

Somdev will now play Viktor Troicki while Bopanna meets Janko Tipsarevic in the reverse singles Sunday.

The tie was levelled 1-1 Friday night when India’s No.1 Somdev stunned Tipsarevic in straight sets after Bopanna lost another closely contested five-setter to Troicki.

India were playing without their doubles exponents Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, who were on a 24-match winning streak in a Davis Cup and had to miss out due to injuries.

Bopanna and Somdev, who were teaming up for the first time in a Davis Cup, did their best to make up for their absence. Bopanna, who is ranked No. 19 in doubles and reached the final of the 2010 US Open with Pakistan’s Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi, was outstanding.

The 31-year-old Bangalorean not only produced a breathtaking all-court game but with Somdev barely able to hold his serve, he single-handedly shouldered India’s campaign.

The Indians had their chances in the match in which fortunes swung sharply but they failed to capitalise on them. Somdev, whose vastly improved serve was a revelation in his match against Tipsarevic, struggled to get even his first serves in.

For the Serbs, Bozoljac showed nerves in the first set where he failed to hold his serve even once. But thereafter, he played with purpose to complement his veteran partner Zimonjic, who is World No.4 in doubles rankings.

The Serbs attacked Somdev’s weak service and marched to a 2-1 lead when in the fourth set, the Indians produced some sensational groundstrokes to eke out a break to go 3-1 up and Bopanna held his serve to consolidate the break.

The joy was shortlived as Somdev again dropped his serve and the set went to a tie-break. Amidst high octane drama and a vociferous partisan crowd, Bopanna and Somdev did well to earn four set points and looked poised to take the match into the fifth set. They, however, would rue missing the last set point, that went for an engrossing rally and the Serbs hung on stoutly.

Bozoljac shocked the Indians by picking up Somdev’s low return and at 10-10, gave the Serbs the match point, which Zimonjic sealed with a crisp backhand volley.

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