India were left to battle it out in the Asian zone yet again after Ramkumar Ramanathan’s defeat in the must-win fourth rubber as Denis steered Canada back to the elite Davis Cup World Cup, here on Sunday.
No doubt, Indian singles player played incredibly well, specially Yuki Bhambri who forced the second rubber into 5 sets against the top Canadian player. It was Doubles, where the players let us down.
Doubles is always assumed to be the best chance for India & why not, we have the best players in the world when it comes to doubles but as usual the players fails to deliver when the country needs it the most, be it Olympics or Davis Cup.
Doubles loss will raise many questions ! Absence of Leander Paes, most experienced player was the right decision ? How injured Saketh Myneni (unranked in doubles) and Sriram Balaji (no 134) were in the squad ahead of world No. 62 Paes remains a mystery.
India needed Ramkumar to create some magic on the final day of the tie but his failure to convert chances proved crucial as world number 51 Shapovalov shut the door on the visitors with a decisive 6-3, 7-6(1), 6-3 win.
Their fate already sealed, Yuki Bhambri won the dead fifth rubber against Brayden Schnur 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 as India lost the World Group Play-off tie 2-3 to the hosts.
It is now fourth straight year that India have not managed to cross the Play-offs hurdle, having lost to Serbia, Czech Republic and Spain in previous three attempts.
Canada thus have earned their spot back in the 16-nation World Group after losing the first round to Great Britain in February this year while India will again strive in the Asia/Oceanic Group I in 2018 to get to the Play-offs stage.
“I think there were two x-factors in this match —one was Danny (Nestor) and one was Purav (Raja),” Bhupathi said later. “We knew the longer the match went that Danny was tiring a bit but he’s played 50 Davis Cup matches and that’s why at 5-all, 30-all in the second set he served an ace. And when he served at 4-3 in the fourth set he was able to pull off those two points at 30-all. That’s because he’s that good.”
If only Bhupathi knew a guy with an experience of 50+ Davis Cup ties over 25 years.
Bopanna and Raja — India’s fifth doubles team in as many rubbers — played like the scratch pair that it was. It would be unfair to put all the blame on Raja, who was playing his second Davis Cup rubber four years after the doubles win over South Korea partnering Leander Paes. The 31-year-old, ranked 56 in the world, showed steady hands at the net and returned well. But being thrust into the team for a crucial away tie at the last minute can leave anybody ruffled.