Holger Rune beats Yuki Bhambri, Sumit Nagal ranges it up for India

India had been expectedly pegged again by Holger Rune, the world No 9 fast-rising teen, within the opening rubber of their Davis Cup World Group I play-off tie in opposition to Denmark in Hillerod, Denmark on Friday earlier than Sumit Nagal levelled issues up at 1-1 with a rallying victory.

Yuki Bhambri, India’s former top-100 singles professional who has shifted focus to doubles on the skilled tour, was no match to the 19-year-old Dane in a 6-2, 6-2 defeat that led to simply 58 minutes.

Taking part in the tie on indoor laborious courts, India captain Rohit Rajpal selected to bench higher-ranked singles gamers in Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Ramkumar Ramanathan and as an alternative fielded Bhambri, 30, and Nagal, who lined up for the second singles tie in opposition to 484th-ranked August Holmgren in a close to must-win proposition. The 506th-ranked Nagal justified Rajpal’s techniques as he overcame a poor begin to beat Holmgren 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 to get India the place they’d hoped to be after the opening day: on stage phrases.

Bhambri will crew up with Rohan Bopanna, the 2023 Australian Open blended doubles finalist, for the doubles tie in opposition to Johannes Ingildsen and Christian Sigsgaard on Saturday earlier than the reverse singles fixtures.

Taking part in in entrance of a sizeable crowd to have stuffed up the indoor Royal Stage amid temperatures of two levels Celsius, it was maintain by Bhambri to start with. However it all unravelled fairly rapidly after that as Rune, who received three ATP titles final yr together with one beating Novak Djokovic within the Paris Masters ultimate, took over.

The teenager obtained a break within the third recreation after Bhambri sprayed a forehand extensive after netting an easy overhead. That the Indian hasn’t performed a whole lot of singles recently—Bhambri solely performed a few qualifying matches on the ATP Tata Open Maharashtra this yr—was evident in his sluggish on-court motion.

The 30-year-old Indian was persistently sluggish on the ball and even whereas he tried to serve and volley and method the online extra typically, he discovered little success as Rune was up a double break up and India a set down very quickly.

The second set adopted the same sample by way of a few breaks. Rune was additionally having some enjoyable now in entrance of his residence followers, and thus got here out a tweener that additionally received him some extent and an in-curving, line-kissing forehand down-the-line winner on the run.

India had overwhelmed Denmark in March final yr at residence, a scientific 4-0 victory on the grass courts of the Delhi Gymkhana Membership. However that was a visiting Danish aspect with out Rune whereas that is the house crew with its prime gun not solely current but additionally firing on all cylinders. And with India’s singles armoury deteriorating, the duty was solely made that a lot tougher for the guests this time.

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