Somdev, Yuki ensure India advance to World Group play-offs
Yuki was authoritative in his 6-2 6-2 6-3 drubbing of Michael Venus in the decider after Somdev levelled the tie with his 6-4 6-4 6-4 win over Marcus Daniell in the first match of the day.
It was a do-or-die situation for India when Somdev stepped on the court and the country’s numero uno singles player ensured that India remained in the hunt.
Yuki, who was playing only his second live fifth rubber, came out all guns blazing against Venus, who
had stunned Somdev in the first match of the tie.
The 23-year-old Delhi-lad turned out to be India’s hero in this tie as he won both his matches. He had lost the deciding fifth rubber against Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic in September in Bangalore last year.
Yuki stamped his class and authority right from the start and did not face a single break point till the sixth game of the third set. Yuki asserted himself by breaking Venus twice in each of the first two sets, running away with a 2-0 lead.
It was in the third set that Venus threatened a bit when he had Yuki down a break point in the sixth game but the Indian was up to the task and thwarted his rival’s attempts.
Yuki saved two more chances in the eighth game and finally converted his third match point to seal the tie for his side. India will now strive to make the World Group when they compete in the Play-offs in September. Earlier, Somdev delivered when it mattered the most taming Daniell in two hours and 18 minutes to keep India afloat in the tie.
Daniell replaced Jose Statham, who was down with a flu, but could not help his side seal the tie. Somdev went about his business calmly on Sunday and made a perfect start when he broke Daniell in the very first game of the opening set.
The advantage of that early break stayed with him throughout and he served out the set in the 10th. He thwarted Daniell’s attempt of a comeback by saving a break chance on his serve in the sixth game.
Team India hails Yuki, hero of tie against New Zealand
He had copped a lot of criticism after losing the deciding fifth rubber against Serbia in the last tie but Yuki Bhambri redeemed himself by winning the deciding match on Sunday, which sealed India a place in the Davis Cup World Group play-offs.
The quality of his fifth-rubber opponents in the two ties -- Filip Krajinovic (in September 2014) and Michael Venus -- is debatable but one fact that cannot be ignored is that pressure of delivering in a live and deciding rubber is enormous and Yuki did it with aplomb.
After all the hard work, India had levelled the Play-off tie against Serbia 2-2 and Yuki played the decisive tie but could not find a way to beat Krajinovic, by beating whom he could have taken India into the World Group.
On Sunday it was different as it was Yuki, who turned out to be a hero in India’s win against the Kiwis. He won his singles on day one when Somdev’s defeat put India under pressure and on Sunday he outclassed Venus. He, obviously, is the toast of the Indian team. Senior players Devvarman and Rohan Bopanna paid glowing tributes to the 23-old-youngster, who was never broken in this tie against the Kiwis.