The 2017 Davis Cup World Group Playoffs was a wonderful tennis contest between 15 to 17 September. These were the main play-offs of the 2017 Davis Cup. The winners of the playoffs advanced to the 2018 Davis Cup World Group and the losers got back to their respective Zonal Regions I.
At the start of playoffs, there were 16 teams standing tall (8 seeded & 8 unseeded). With the 8 seeded teams coming from the first round loss at the World Groups, we had the remaining octet from the Zonal Group 1 ties. In the end, only the best of the lot was to advance to play the World Group matches in 2018.
With the likes of Argentina, the defending champions, it was going to be a tough ask for the qualifiers. However, it was Kazakhstan who fought hard to overcome the challenge of Argentines. Moreover, the tennis teams from Hungary and Netherlands displayed an improved performance to seal their berth in the 2018 edition. These countries were the ones which created the biggest upsets of the tournament. Apart from the qualifiers, it was Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Canada, and Croatia who marched ahead into next years clash.
Indian team faces a setback against Canada
In the first match of the tie, Ramkumar Ramanathan eased past Braden Schnur 5-7, 7-6 (7-4), 7-5, 7-5. Coming back hard on the Canadian, Ramanathan managed to steady his ship and got home.
Even though India started off on the right note, Yuki Bhambri lost the second match. This five-setter was truly exciting and a total thriller. Unfortunately, the man in blue had to taste defeat after a grueling encounter which lasted about 4 hours.
Nevertheless, it was time for the doubles encounter. Being an another four setter, the Indian pair of Bopanna and Raja stumbled upon the challenged put forth by the Canadian pair. As a result, Indians trailed in the tournament 1-2.
Next up, Ramanathan was pitted against Denis Shapovalov. Both of them banking upon their first match wins started off cautiously. But soon Denis pounced upon the Indian, covering the court well to clinch the first set. As it was a must-win game for the man in blue to keep the country’s hopes alive, he showed some resistance. However, young Shapovalov did not look back and made way for Canada to enter the 2018 Davis Cup by defeating Ramkumar.
The last match was just a formality and a consolation win for Yuki Bhambri vis-à-vis team India. This tie ended 3-2 in favor of Canada.
Our team will certainly learn from these experiences and return again next year to give their best shot at the upcoming edition of the Davis Cup.