Prakash stumbles, India fail to make Davis Cup World GroupSeptember 21st, 2008 - 8:06 pm ICT by IANS
Bucharest (Romania), Sep 21 (IANS) India’s Prakash Amritraj toiled hard but could not match the might and class of Romanian Victor Hanescu, caving in 2-6, 3-6, 1-6 and with it the faint hopes of making to the world group after a decade.India, who lost both its singles matches against the host to trail 0-2 on the opening day, were given a fresh lease of life by doubles experts Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi with straight sets victory over Adrian Cruciat and Horia Tecau Saturday.
It was thus left to Prakash, who played the first of the two reverse singles Sunday, to carry forward the fight in the world group play-off.
The 24-year-old sprinted all over the court, tried to unsettle the 67-ranked Hanescu by charging the net and even flung his racquet in despair as he saw the match slip out of his hands. But the Indian could not come up with enough shots to combat the Romanian’s solid baseline play.
In fact, Prakash’s tendency to rush to the net made him predictable and add to this his inability to put away easy volleys didn’t help matter. It didn’t take long for Hanescu to take the first set as he broke in the fifth game after the Indian saved two break points. He broke him again in the seventh to take the first set comfortably.
Things didn’t improve in the second with Prakash being broken in the first game. The Indian did have the chance in the sixth game, setting up a break point with a well-placed back hand slice but could not convert. The Romanian cracked Prakash’s serve in the ninth when he failed to pitch in an easy volley.
Prakash lost the steam in the decider and was broken twice. Hanescu’s sweetly timed approach shot gave him three match points and Prakash netted a return to hand over the hosts unassailable 3-1 lead and a place in the World Group.