Friday, June 14, 2024

Davis Cup tie: India bets on home advantage against Serbia


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Bangalore: India will be hoping to make use of the home advantage and the high altitude to upset strong Serbia in the Davis Cup World Group play-off tie beginning at KSLTA Stadium here on Friday.
Thrice runners-up India have given top player status to Somdev Devvarman, while it includes the other singles player Yuki Bhambri and doubles pair of seasoned Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna.
The Serbian challenge will be led by ATP 61st ranked Dusan Lajovic, who plays the opening singles against Bhambri, while Philip Krajinovic is the other singles player. The doubles team comprise of Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac.
Despite the absence of world’s top ranked player Novak Djokovic and top ten Janco Tipsarevic due to fatigue and injury, respectively, Indian singles players will have to overcome higher ranked Dusan and Filip.
In their last meeting, the 2010 champions defeated India 4-1 in Novi Sad in 2011, despite the absence of Novok in the line-up.
‘There is a chance for both teams and we are looking for an absorbing duel. I played Filip way back in 2009 and beat him but things must have chanced since five years,’ Devvarman said after the draw was made on Thursday.
Both the team captains said weather was not a factor as it was cool, as Bangalore is at 3000 feet above the sea level, remains to be seen. In high altitude ball tends to fly fast and control of strokes becomes difficult.
Serbian captain Bogdan Obradovic said the team was fully prepared and he expects the singles players to come good against the Indians.
He said the team’s approach will be to do its best as it had a good chance to win. He said the team’s arrival a week in advance had helped as they had practised for long hours and are comfortable now.
Dusan said altitude will not be a problem as the players had played in similar conditions elsewhere. Its stay in the city for the past one week was fruitful as they had good hits.
Yuki, who missed action for most part of the year due to heel injury, said he was fully fit and was hopeful of a win in the opening singles and put India 1-0 up.
‘Hopefully we can start with a 1-0 win. I do out there and do my best,’ he said.
Devvarman further said playing the second match was extremely important and there was chance for both teams. ‘The two teams are evenly matched and Filip is a good player. I am looking forward to it and will put my best foot forward and fight till the end,’ he said.
India, however, remains the underdogs to win the singles while the doubles pair are expected to win the rubber on the second day.
Like in the previous round, it will again boil down to Devvarman to upset the apple card of the former winner Serbia, which finished runnerup last year.  (UNI)


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