‘Czechmate’ for India in Davis Cup

New Delhi, Sep 20 (IANS) In the end, neither adverse conditions, the heat, humidity, unfriendly crowd, nor India’s best players — nothing could stop the visiting Czech Republic tennis team from easily pocketing the Davis Cup World Group Playoff 3-1 against India this weekend.

A straight sets victory of Jiri Vesely over India No.1 Yuki Bhambri here on Sunday was enough to seal the deal, making sure the home team remained in Group 1 Asia/Oceania of the tournament. Vesely beat Bhambri 6-3, 7-5, 6-2 on the rebound ace hard court of the Delhi Lawn Tennis Association (DLTA) complex.

The three-time Davis Cup champions showed why they are the No.1 ranked team in the world by overcoming the hot and humid conditions, and India’s best players to remain in the elite World Group comprising 16 top nations.

Already ahead 2-1 after winning the doubles clash on Saturday, World No.40 Vesely needed just two hours and 12 minutes to clinch the match after which both teams mutually decided to not play the inconsequential fifth rubber — scheduled between Somdev Devvarman and Lukas Rosol.

Bhambri, who had also lost his singles contest on Friday, played much better on the last day of the tie. The 23-year-old occasionally hit some exquisite forehand winners but it was his backhand that faltered.

The Delhi boy’s backhand errors, which regularly found the net, cost him crucial points which could have made the contest a lot tighter.

He hit some good forehand winners which caught the 22-year-old Vesely on the wrong foot. But too many errors and the lack of consistency made the Indian lose the first set.

The one break of serve in the fourth game was enough for Vesely to seal the set in 42 minutes.

The Indian, ranked 125, found rhythm in the second set and moved far better, helping him earn his first breakpoint opportunity in only the second game. But it was saved by Vesely.

Being 4-3 up, Bhambri had a great opportunity to consolidate on the advantage in the eighth game when he earned three breakpoint chances. However, he wasted them all as the Czech fought back to hold serve.

At 5-5, Vesely upped the ante just when it was required to break Bhambri for the first time in the set, and the second time in the match, to pocket the second set.

The left-handed Vesely broke Bhambri twice in the third set to take a big 4-0 lead, which broke Bhambri’s resolve of making a comeback. The Indian saved two matchpoints but eventually Vesely claimed the match on his third chance.

This was Czech Republic’s fourth win over India in as many meetings, although their last tie before this was way back in 1997.

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