In the first reverse singles on Sunday, Czech Republic’s Jiri Vesely helped his country regain the World Group berth by defeating India’s Yuki Bhambri. Vesely scored a straight sets win over the Indian and Czech Republic took an unassailable 3-1 lead while it was curtains for India. Although Bhambri played much better than on the first day, India’s position had been weakened by their doubles rubber loss on Saturday. Elsewhere in the world group play-off matches, Switzerland also lost the doubles rubber against the Netherlands but still lead 2-1; Colombia’s victory over Japan in the doubles gave them a 2-1 lead and the same story holds true in the ties between Germany & Dominican Republic; Poland & Slovakia and Brazil & Croatia. However, Italy and USA have come back in the world group by winning Sunday’s first reverse singles against their opponents. Italy defeated Russia 3-1 and USA knocked out Uzbekistan by the same margin.
In the first reverse singles on Sunday at Delhi’s DLTA complex, Jiri Vesely disposed of a charged up Yuki Bhambri in straight sets 6-3, 7-5, 6-2 and ensured that Czech Republic go up 3-1 ahead and clinch the tie from India. In Saturday’s doubles rubber, the Czechs had taken a 2-1 lead after Leander Paes/Rohan Bopanna had lost against Adam Pavlasek/Radek Stepanek in straight sets. That was one match; India had hinged their hopes on besides, miracles from Somdevvarman in his reverse singles against Lukas Rosol on Sunday. That didn’t happen after the Indian pair of Paes/Bopanna lost 5-7, 2-6, 2-6 to Pavlasek/Stepanek. In the Bhambi-Vesely match, the Indian committed numerous backhand errors in the first set and lost crucial points. Bhambri’s inconsistent play helped Vesely to ride over him. One break of serve in the fourth game was enough for the Czech to take the first set in 42 minutes. Bhambri raised his game in the second set and broke Vesely in the second game. Leading 4-3 at one stage, Bhambri was in a great position with three break-point opportunities. But the Delhi lad squandered all three chances and Vesely finally held his serve. At 5-5, Vesely broke Bhambri and served for the second set. The third set saw Vesely zooming to a 4-0 lead and with Bhambri’s comeback chances nullified, Vesely rode roughshod to win after 2 hours 12 minutes. The victory allowed the Czechs to regain their berth in the world group while India were relegated to the Asia/Oceania Group-1.
Two other world group play-off ties decided on Sunday at Irkutsk, Russia and Tashkent, Uzbekistan. In Irkutsk, Italy’s Fabio Fognini won the first reverse singles against Teymuraz Gabashvli 7-6, 6-3, 7-6 and with the 3-1 lead acquired, Italy sailed into the world group. In Tashkent, the Americans did the same, when Jack Sock defeated Uzbek Denis Istomin 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 in the first reverse singles.
In other venues around the world, reverse singles matches are yet to resume but after Saturday’s doubles rubbers; Switzerland, Germany; Poland, Colombia and Croatia lead 2-1 against their opponents and barring unforeseen miracles, these nations should enter the world group.