Kolkata: Rohan Bopanna and Sriram Balaji won the Davis Cup doubles match against Uzbekistan by defeating the duo of Farrukh Dustov and Sanjar Fayziev 6-2, 6-4, 6-1 at the KSLTA stadium in Bangalore on Saturday. The win gave India an unassailable 3-0 lead over Uzbekistan in the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group I second-round tie. India have now qualified for the World Group Play-offs, to be held in September and their next opponents will be known later.
After Gunneswaran Ramanathan beat Temur Ismailov 6-2, 5-7, 6-2, 7-5 in the first singles rubber and debutant Gunneswaran, ranked 187, outwitted Sanjar Fayzieb 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, India had attained a 2-0 lead over Uzbekistan on Friday itself.
Bopanna and Balaji, who made his Davis Cup debut in the rubber, took an hour and 23 minutes to defeat the duo of Farrukh Dustov and Sanjar Fayziev 6-2, 6-4, 6-1, giving Mahesh Bhupathi a win in his debut tie as non-playing captain.
In the first set, Bopanna/Balaji converted two out of the three break points they had and did not have to face a single break point. The Indian team broke early on in the set and, with Dustov/Fayziev serving down set point at 2-5, broke again for the set with a running cross court forehand winner from Bopanna. Bopanna/Balaji dominated the set, winning 28 points to their opponents’ 17.
Serving to stay in the set being down 4-5, 15-30 in the second, Dustov/Fayziev threw in a double fault to give the Indians two set points. The Indian duo capitalised as Bopanna converted the first of those with a succession of forehands that drew a netted volley from Dustov.
The Indians were in total control from that point of time, and broke the Uzbeks twice and won six consecutive games, including the last game of the second set, to go up 5-0 in the third before Dustov/Fayziev finally held serve. Bopanna then held serve at love to seal a comfortable victory for the Indian team.
Sunday’s reverse singles now will have no bearing on the outcome of the tie and will be the best of three sets.
(With inputs from ESPN)