Prakash, Somdev lose Davis Cup singles’ tie (Lead)

September 19th, 2008 - 10:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Bucharest, Sep 19 (IANS) India could win only a set as Romania breezed through the opening day’s singles in the Davis Cup World Group play-off to take a 2-0 lead here Friday. Prakash Amritraj, ranked 222, took Victor Crivoi to four sets before losing the first singles 5-7, 7-5, 2-6, 2-6. Then 242nd ranked Somdev Devvarman was swept off his feet by the lone player in the top hundred on either side at 67, Victor Hanescu 3-6, 1-6, 0-6 in an hour and a half.

It will be very difficult for India to come back from here. Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi will play the doubles against Adrian Cruciat and Horia Tecau Saturday.

Somdev, who came into the match riding on a string of impressive performances in the Futures and the ATP circuit, proved a no-match for Hanescu.

The 23-year-old Indian found it difficult to hold his serves and never looked like breaking his strapping six foot five opponent. Hanescu did not concede any point in his first three service games.

It was only in the seventh game that Somdev logged his first point in Hanescu’s serve when he showed agility and came upfront to pick a fine drop shot.

Hanescu got a break point in the fourth game but Somdev managed to save it hitting first of his three aces in the match.

Somdev then looked like coming into the groove, taking a love game with two aces to level 3-3 but could not lift his game. It remained his best service game.

Hanescu earned the break point in the eighth game and then a passing shot gave him a lead at 5-3 before he closed the set in his own serve.

Somdev was simply blown away in the next two sets as Hanescu made him dance to his tune. The Indian lacked power in his shots while Hanescu packed punch in his shots to rattle Somdev.

The Romanian also did not miss any opportunity to come to the net time and again. He broke Somdev twice to take a 2-0 advantage before running through the last.

In the first singles match, Prakash Amritraj tried every trick in the book but could only take a set off Victor Crivoi before losing the opening singles.

The way Prakash began it appeared he would breeze through the first set as he rushed the net to put away easy volleys. The hassled Romanian found it difficult to pass and the Indian was up 3-0 with an early break.

Slowly Crivoi started getting measure of Prakash with his deep ground shots. Prakash tried to rush with poor approach shots and found himself in a no-man’s land as the Romanian passed him easily.

Prakash should have served out the set in the tenth game, but made elementary mistakes to drop serve. He saved four break points in his next service game, he just could not pull it off. The Romanian served the set out.

In the second set, the roles were reversed as the 158th ranked Crivoi had an early break and Prakash had to wait till the tenth game to level. Prakash broke the Romanian in the 12th game to level the sets 1-1.

Prakash seemed to have run out of fuel in the next two sets. The 222nd ranked Indian started slowly losing grip over his game and was broken in the fifth game. After that it was a matter of time before Crivoi cruised through untroubled.

To make matters worse for Prakash, he seemed to have stretched his hamstring and after that he simply went through the motions. All that Crivoi had to do was to wait for Prakash to make mistakes.

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