Somdev no match to Youzhny, Russia take unbeatable 3-1 lead

Moscow, March 7 (IANS) A hapless Somdev Devvarman was swept off his feet by World No. 13 Mikhail Youznhy in the first reverse singles as Russia took an unassailable 3-1 lead over India in the Davis Cup World Group first round at the Luzhniki arena here Sunday.

The 128th-ranked Indian, who came close to winning his opening singles against Igor Kunitsyn, could barely win six games in a one-sided 2-6, 1-6, 3-6 loss in an hour and 55 minutes.

Down 1-2, there was a faint hope that Somdev could turn the form book upside down by beating the Russian and take the tie into a decisive fifth rubber. But that was not to be as the Indian just went through the motions instead of raising his game to a higher level, which he did on the ATP Tour on quite a few occasions.

India’s second singles player Rohan Bopanna will play Teimuraz Gabashvili in the inconsequential dead fifth rubber.

Somdev’s four-set loss to Kunitsyn Friday appeared to have sapped his energy and this day he looked a spent force against a domineering Youzhny, who simply breezed through the match.

The six-feet Youzhny toyed with Somdev, who somewhat struggled with his serve, winning only 56 percent of his points on first serve, and was also sluggish on court.

The Russian outpaced the Indian with his fluent ground strokes, his trademark backhand at its best. He exploited Somdev’s unwillingness to charge the net with clever dropshots.

Youzhny’s clinical display made it amply clear that not for nothing he is in the world’s top 15. He did not drop his serve and the only time he came close to losing it was in the third set when he had to save two break points.

Youzhny sprinted to a first set lead, with breaks in the third and fifth game, and then played a flawless second set, allowing Somdev to hold his serve only once.

There was little that Somdev could do except admiring his opponent’s brilliance. He smashed his racquet in frustration, but that didn’t help his cause either. He did put up a semblance of a fight in the third set, but that too little and too late as the Russian jumped to a 4-1 lead and soon the set and match were his.

–Indo-Asian News Service


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