India and hosts Canada ended Day 1 of the Davis Cup tie at 1-1 in Edmonton. India got off to a flying start after Ramkumar Ramanathan beat Brayden Schnur 5-7 7-6 (7-4) 7-5 7-5 in the first match of the tie on Friday.
However, in the second tie of the match Denis Shapovalov defeated Yuki Bhambri 7-6(2), 6-4, 6-7(8), 4-6, 6-1 in a marathon match that lasted nearly four hours as Canada levelled the Davis Cup World Group Play-off tie 1-1.
Canada are the favourites in the ongoing World Group play-off tie considering they have the home advantage as well as more fancied players in their team.
“Boys played with a lot of heart…the plan was to fight regardless of the score and Ram swung a losing battle and Yuki almost did too,” Indian captain Mahesh Bhupathi told PTI.
“The pressure remains on them. If we fight like this anything is possible.”
The first set of the Yuki Bhambri vs Denis Shapovalov match saw both competitors start off aggressively.
Both managed to hold their serve and send the set into a tie-break, which Denis Shapovalov won, much to the approval of the home crowd.
Both Yuki Bhambri and Denis Shapovalov continued to hold serve in the second set. However, with the second set at 3-3, it was Shapalov who finally got the break and took an important 4-3 lead.
Shapovalov eventually won the second set 6-4, putting Canada in a good position to level the tie.
Yuki Bhambri continued to play hard, but he once again failed to hold serve and Shapovalov looked set to seal a straight sets victory.
However, Yuki Bhambri won a break point of his own and forced the third set to a tie-break. Denis Shapovalov took a quick 4-2 lead but Bhambri fought back and won the third set, even saving a match point along the way.
Bouyed by his marathon effort to save the match, Yuki Bhambri broke early in the fourth set and then held serve to take the match into a deciding fifth set.
Denis Shapovalov took a 3-1 lead after breaking Yuki Bhambri early in the set. Playing the first five set match of his career, Shapovalov showed no nerves and broke Bhambri again after holding his serve.
Shapovalov eventually won the final set 6-1, thus levelling the tie after Ramkumar Ramanathan’s win in the first match of the Davis Cup World Group Play-offs.
India will hope to take a 2-1 lead in the tie when Rohan Bopanna and Purav Raja take on Vasiv Pospisil and Daniel Nestor in doubles action on Sunday.