Davis Cup: Bopanna and Balaji seal India's place in WG play-offs
India on Saturday sealed their placein the Davis Cup World Group Play-offs with Rohan Bopanna and N Sriram Balaji routing their rivals with clinical precision for an unassailable 3-0 lead against Uzbekistan, here. Bopanna and debutant Balaji defeated Farrukh Dustov and Sanjar Fayziev 6-2 6-4 6-1 in the doubles rubber of the Asia/Oceania Group I second round contest at the KSLTA stadium. Uzbekistan needed to win the doubles rubber to keep the tie alive but the Indians proved too good for the visitors with Balaji making an impressive debut.
Ramkumar Ramanathan and debutant Prajnesh Gunneswaran had handed India a comfortable 2-0 lead yesterday by winning the
their singles against Temur Ismailov and Fayziev respectively.
Sunday's reverse singles now will have no bearing on the outcome of the tie and will be the best of three sets.
India have now qualified for the World Group Play-offs for the fourth straight year. They lost to top teams —Serbia (2014 in Bangalore), Czech Republic (2015 in New Delhi)
and Spain (2016 in New Delhi) in previous three years in the play-offs.
The play-offs will be held in September and India's next opponents will be known later when draw will be made in London. It was a tremendous start for Mahesh Bhupathi as captain of the team.
Bhupathi had chosen Bopanna over Leander Paes, who is one win away from making the world record for most doubles victories in Davis Cup history.
Balaji not only served well he showed skills at the net and gradually started to return well.
Bopanna, whose weapon is his booming serve, carried the teammate nicely and his single-handed returns proved too hot to handle for