Davis Cup 2020 Qualifiers: Despite Leander Paes/Rohan Bopanna's win, India loses to Croatia 3-1
- Despite Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna's magical victory, India loses the tie to Croatia 3-1.
The only saving grace for the Indian contingent was the duo of Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna who took the matter into their own hands and claimed victory in the third rubber of the tie against Croatia. Aiming to qualify for the Davis Cup Finals that will be held in November, the Indian players failed to go past the two-time Davis Cup champions, Croatia in the World Group Qualifiers. Playing in Zagreb, the Indians lost 3-1 and failed to qualify for the Finals.
In the first rubber of the tie, World No. 277 player Borna Gojo of Croatia took India's top-ranked singles player, Prajnesh Gunneswaran (ranked World No. 132) by surprise by defeating him in three sets. Gunneswaran could not match the skills of the lower-ranked Gojo and succumbed to a 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 defeat.
In the second rubber of the tie, it was former World No. 3 and 2014 US Open Champion, Marin Čilić who stepped up to play for the Croatian side. Ramkumar Ramanathan put up a brave fight against the World No. 37 player and engaged Čilić in two tense tie-breaks. However, it was Čilić who emerged on top in both the tie-breaks, 7-6, 7-6, and gave Croatia a 2-0 lead in the tie.
To keep India still in the tie, it was Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna who had to step on court to register a win. The veteran doubles duo emerged to be stronger than Mate Pavić and Franko Skugor. After a three-set battle, Paes and Bopanna won the match, 6-3, 6-7(9), 7-5. This match marked the final Davis Cup outing for Leander Paes who extended his doubles victory record to 45 wins.
To seal matters up for Croatia, it was once again Marin Čilić who took the responsibility of securing the win in the reverse singles. Sumit Nagal replaced Prajnesh Gunneswaran for the match but the Croat overpowered the Indian from start to finish. Without wasting any time, he bagged victory, 6-0, 6-1 and booked Croatia a place in the Davis Cup Finals in November.
Published 08 Mar 2020, 12:51 IST