Ramanathan hands India 4-0 lead in Davis Cup tie

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Bengaluru, April 9 (IANS) Ramkumar Ramanathan beat Sanjar Fayziev in straight sets in the first reverse singles to hand India a 4-0 lead in their Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group I second round tie against Uzbekistan here on Sunday.

Ramanathan won 6-3, 6-2 against his 22-year-old Uzbek opponent in a match which lasted for around an hour.

The Indians had already won the five-match tie and qualified for the World Group Play-off stage when Rohan Bopanna and Sriram Balaji defeated Farrukh Dustov and Sanjar Fayziev 6-2, 6-4, 6-1 in the doubles match on Saturday to hand them an unassailable 3-0 lead.

Ramanathan and Prajnesh Gunneswaran had won their respective singles matches to give India a 2-0 lead on the opening day of the tie on Friday.

Ramkumar had defeated Temur Ismailov 6-2, 5-7, 6-2, 7-5 in the opening match of the tie before Prajnesh enjoyed an excellent Davis Cup debut with a 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Fayziev.

Ramanathan enjoyed an excellent start to Sunday’s contest against Fayziev when he broke the Uzbek’s serve in the second game of the opening set.

Fayziev had conceded the first two points through unforced errors before an excellent return of serve by Ramanathan handed him three break points.

Fayziev saved one break point with a big first serve followed by excellent placement before reducing the gap to 30/40 with a couple of excellent placements.

The Indian however, won the next point to earn the break and take a 2-0 lead in the first set. Ramanathan then held his serve at love to go 3-0 up.

Fayziev had a chance to earn a break of his own in the fifth game when he put pressure on Ramanathan’s serve. But the Indian did well to utilise his powerful serves and some superb forehand returns to hold serve.

The issue went with the serve before Ramanathan went on to win the first set in 37 minutes.

Ramanathan enjoyed a strong start to the second set as well, breaking his opponent in the very first game.

The next five games went with the serve before some excellent returns by Ramanathan and a few unforced errors by Fayziev earned the Indian his second break of the set.

The Chennai lad then held serve with ease to wrap up the second set and the match.

–IANS

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