Millennium Post

Somdev shocks Vesley to level tie at 1-1

Somdev Devvarman’s love affair with the DLTA Centre Court continued as he helped India <g data-gr-id="35">level</g> the Davis Cup World Group Play-off tie against <g data-gr-id="37">Czech Republic</g> with an upset win over Jiri Vesley after Yuki Bhambri’s tame defeat in the opening singles, here on Friday.

Somdev’s biggest victory of the season could not have been timed better as India were in a spot after Bhambri’s 2-6 1-6 5-7 loss against big-hitting Lukas Rosol, the world number 85.

Somdev came out and maintained his impeccable record on the DLTA courts with a 7-6(3) 6-4 6-3 win over 40th-ranked Vesley in two hours and 40 minutes, yet again showing that ranking was a mere number in Davis Cup. Somdev has not lost a single match here since 2010 and Vesley <g data-gr-id="38">has</g> never won a live rubber in his Davis Cup career and the status quo remains.

Somdev has suffered defeats against players, ranked outside 400 (Emilio Gomez, 402) on the Challenger circuit in a very ordinary 2015 season so far but the hard-working Indian has managed to win when it matters for the nation.

It was not as hot and humid as expected at the DLTA where more than 500 people turned up to watch the action. The intermittent breeze and cloudy sky made the weather conditions quite tolerable with <g data-gr-id="42">temperature</g> remaining between 31 and 34 degrees Celsius.

Somdev s fitness, his strong legs and the heart for a fight were at work yet again. He moved swiftly on the court, hit strokes with precision and always found a way to open the court for winners, a total of 65.

The slow court worked to Somdev s advantage as left-handed Vesley struggled to cope with it, unable to hit flat and hard as Rosol managed against Yuki. But Vesley <g data-gr-id="41">said</g> “something was not right” with him on Friday as he felt exhausted after 25-30 minutes.

Now seasoned players Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna will take on Radek Stepanek and Adam Pavlasek in the doubles rubber on Saturday. It was Somdev s only sixth win over a top-50 player. He had beaten Ivo Karlovic (25) and Rainer Schuettler (33) and Marin Cilic (15) in 2009. In 2013, he beat Alexander Dolgopolov (25) and Benoit Paire (39).

In complete contrast to the first match in which the first set was over in just 24 minutes, Somdev and Vesley fought a battle of attrition. After 27 minutes into the match, the score was 2-1 on serve as a baseline slugfest was on.

There were seven break chances in those three games, four for Somdev, but no player could convert. The Indian raised the level of his game by several notches, spraying winners, a staggering 32, all over the court and ended up firing 11 aces in the first set. The serve was not <g data-gr-id="43">fierce</g> but Somdev found the perfect angles to keep the ball out of Vesley’s reach. 
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