India complete demolition, enter Davis Cup world playoffs


The Davis Cup tie between India and South Korea had lots of highlights over the three days that it was played. Players collapsing on the court due to extreme heat and humidity, Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna gelling well before Rio Olympics and Saketh Myneni overcoming the pain barrier to win his singles match were some of them.But the lasting memory came on Day 3 when the entire Indian team broke into a jig to a popular Bollywood number after the Ramanathan-Lim final match got over and entertained the motely crowd that was present at the Chandigarh Club on Sunday. Even veteran Leander Paes gave a stellar performance with his dance moves.For many, it seemed that members of the Indian team had practised perfecting the dance moves every day at the team hotel during their week-long stay in the city. The dance steps were amazingly coordinated and the celebration was definitely warranted. India had thrashed Korea 4-1 in their AsiaOceania Group I tie and entered the World Group Playoffs.India had wrapped up the tie on Saturday itself when Paes and Bopanna won their doubles match. The reverse singles were dead rubbers and India fielded Bopanna for the first match of the day against Chung Hong. Saketh Myneni, who was to play the match, hadn’t recovered from the bout of cramps he suffered during his gruelling match against Lim on Friday.Bopanna, who is a specialist doubles player these days and was making his 10th singles appearance in Davis Cup, often placed his returns in the first set beyond the singles tramlines and into the doubles alley. Bopanna last played a singles match way back in 2012 against Uzbekistan, again a match that was a dead rubber.A spate of unforced errors, double faults and misplaced returns meant Bopanna lost the first set by 3-6. In the second set, Bopanna served much better and the big booming serve had found a groove. On his serve, Bopanna had a simple strategy. Serve big, fire an ace and if it’s not an ace then come to the net to volley the return which comes to his side. The tall Bengaluru lad won the second set 6-4, having broken Chung’s serve twice.The third set saw Chung take a medical timeout to treat his left shoulder. The Korean wasn’t the same player when he returned back and Bopanna broke him in the fifth game to surge ahead. Bopanna then finished the match with an ace, winning it 3-6, 6-4, 6-4. In all, Bopanna fired 27 aces in the 1 hour, 23-minute match.Yong-Kyu Lim, who was stretchered out of the court on Friday, astonishingly recovered from the spasms he suffered and made sure the Koreans had something to cheer for as he defeated Ramkumar Ramanathan in the final rubber by 3-6 6-4 6-7(2) in little over two hours.India now await the results of World Group matches to know their rival in the play-offs, which will be held in September. India last played in the World Group in 2011 when it lost in the first round against Serbia.

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