India vs Serbia Tie, Davis Cup World

Yuki Bhambri and Dusan Lajovic will open the proceedings, playing the first singles in the Davis Cup World Group play-off tie between India and Serbia beginning here tomorrow, going by the draw made here today.

 

In the second singles, Somdev Devvarman will go up against Filip Krajinovic while Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna take on Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac in the doubles to be played tomorrow.

The tie will conclude on Sunday with the two reverse singles in which Devvarman faces Lajovic before

 

Bhambri meets Krajinovic. India have nominated Devvarman as their No 1 player ahead of Bhambri while the corresponding Serbian players are Lajovic and Krajinovic.

 

The nominations for the doubles and reverse singles can be changed up to one hour before the scheduled start. India had last qualified for the elite 16-nation group in 2010 but were knocked out in the first round by Serbia next year in Novi Sad, where the visitors suffered a 1-4 rout.

 

The world No 61 has lost only four matches. Most of his defeats have come when he was put to the test by players ranked between No 30 and No 40.

Devvarman, though, is coming into the tie after reaching both the singles and doubles finals in the Shanghai Challenger event.

He lost to Lajovic when they competed last year in Italy but that was on clay, a surface which suited Lajovic more than the Indian.

India must target Serbia’s second singles player Filip Krajinovic, ranked 107. If Devvarman and Bhambri can tame the 22-year-old, India may have a golden opportunity to re-enter the World Group.

Bhambri, who began the season well by winning the Chennai Challenger event, missed a good part of the rest of the season subsequently owing to a heel injury. He has not played many matches since his comeback late in July and it remains to be seen how he fares now.

However, with a full house at the Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association Stadium cheering on Devvarman and Bhambri, the Serbians are sure to feel the heat.

Paes, recalled to the squad in place of Saketh Myneni, feels India surely have a chance to win the tie.

 

“If Serbia had come with Djokovic, Tipsarevic and Troicki, it would have been different. We will see how they face the pressure when the vociferous crowd supports the home team. There will be five, six points which will have a crucial impact on the outcome. We will have to recognise those points, play smartly

and win those points,” Paes said. Zimonjic has played with Paes as a partner on the circuit and had a phenomenal 2005 when they won two titles and reached the finals of three others, apart from ending runners-up at the year-end finals.

The Serbian, winner of eight Grand Slam titles, says it is difficult to play against one’s former partner.

“I have played against both Leander and Rohan. Both are great players. It will be tough for sure,” he said.

Zimonjic, with his regular Canadian partner Daniel Nestor, has not lost to either Paes or Bopanna this season. They beat Paes and Radek Stepanek in the Wimbledon quarter-finals and overcame Bopanna and Aisam-ul-Haq Quershi in Barcelona and Dubai.

 

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