India still not favourites against Czechs: Devvarman

New Delhi, Sep 18 (IANS) Despite his win in the singles match of the Davis Cup World Group tennis Playoff against World No.1 Czech Republic that squared the tie at 1-1, India’s Somdev Devvarman said on Friday that they are still the underdogs in the contest.

India’s Yuki Bhambri lost the opening singles rubber to Lukas Rosol in straight sets but Devvarman fought back to beat World No.40 Jiri Vesely and level the contest at 1-1.

“I won’t be surprised if they change the reverse singles line-up on Sunday. They have enough arsenal in their repertoire and all their four players are very good in singles. We are still the underdogs and still not favourites,” Devvarman, who has not lost in the national capital since 2010, said.

The 30-year-old Devvarman took two hours and 44 minutes to beat Vesely, who is ranked 124 places above him.

“It feels good that to beat a top-50 player because this year I lost to two players ranked outside 400. I sensed he was getting tired which I used to my advantage. He was trying to serve me out, trying more aces but I was engaging him in longer rallies,” said the 2010 Commonwealth Games champion.

The 2010 Asian Games gold medallist also said the playing conditions were perfect for him and he used it to his full advantage.

“The conditions were the deciding factor. It was humid but not as hot as it has been in the last few days. I always love playing here and in these conditions I took advantage of the slower court, a place where I have played so many times,” added Devvarman, who extended his Davis Cup win-loss record to 14-11.

His opponent Vesely congratulated Devvarman but added that he played with an injured leg.

“I was mentally fit but not physically. I was carrying a leg injury from the US Open. Somdev played very well. I don’t know what happened today. It could be that I was over prepared. I am the No.1 player of the squad and I have to take responsibility,” said the 22-year-old Vesely.

“It wasn’t my day. I have to do a lot of work in two days to get ready for Sunday. The conditions can’t be an excuse for my defeat as it has been same for the last 2-3 days.”

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