Yuki to play first singles as team gears up to face World No.2 Serbia

first_imgIndias Yuki Bhambri trains in Bangalore on Thursday, a day before the Davis Cup World Group play-off tie against Serbia.On the eve of its World Group play-off tie against Serbia, the Indian team looked a happy bunch. Playing against Serbia, who are ranked second in the world and finished runners-up last year, not many would have given India a chance to make their way into the top-16.But with Serbia without their three most experienced and prominent players, the Indian team is relishing an opportunity to go through to the next stage.For that to happen, a lot will depend on the two singles matches that will be played on Friday. Yuki Bhambri and Somdev Devvarman will have to punch above their weight if India are to cause an upset.Yuki has been drawn against Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic, who has been playing well, while Somdev, ranked 144th, will be up against young Filip Krajinovic.On Saturday, India’s formidable doubles pair of Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna will take on Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac.On Sunday, Somdev is scheduled to play the first reverse singles against Lajovic, while Yuki will play Krajinovic. The teams can, however, change the players for the fourth and fifth rubber until one hour before the matches.India’s non-playing captain, Anand Amritraj, sounded pleased with the fact that Yuki will open the campaign as both his singles players wanted to play first on the opening day. “Both Somdev and Yuki wanted to play first, so we are happy, whoever is playing the first match,” said Amritraj, who will be seen in a jacket that he wore when India reached the final of the 1987 Davis Cup.advertisementIndia had decent success in the Davis Cup, reaching the finals three times – in 1966, 1974 and 1987. But since then, India haven’t been able to repeat their historic feats.Doubles has always been India’s strong point but singles is where they have faltered, which is why their success rate has been affected. India come into the tie on the back of some good wins against Chinese Taipei and Korea, whom they beat 3-1 in an away tie.Serbia are in this position after losing to Switzerland in the World Group first round, in which they were also without the services of World No.1 Novak Djokovic. Somdev understands his responsibilities being the top-ranked singles player in the Indian team. “It is not about who plays first. Every single point in the match or the tie, for that matter, will be important. Filip has had the best season of his career. I am doing pretty well so I will put my best foot forward tomorrow,” said Somdev.The bounce because of the high altitude here will also be a factor as it will be difficult to control the shots. The ball is likely to fly past quicker through air and that is where Yuki, who is the more aggressive of the two Indians, may have to pay more attention.The tie will be played in the evening under lights here, although Indian captain Amritraj said both teams would have preferred morning starts.”Personally, I would have opted to play in the morning, and in Davis Cup, normally, matches are played in the mornings. However, both the teams agreed to the wishes of the organisers here and we are ready for it,” said Amritraj.Yuki is scheduled to play his reverse singles match against Krajinovic and the two know each other quite well. They haven’t played against each other in many years but they used to train together at the Nick Bollettieri academy.last_img

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