India vs Serbia – Davis Cup Day 1 – Match Report
Florian’s report on http://www.flyctory.com can be read here: https://flyctory.com/2018/09/15/davis-cup-serbia-vs-india-day-1/
Kraljevo is a small town about 200 kms away from Belgrade. It is a 3 hr drive by car from the Belgrade and in lot of the route, we can see the roads decked up with India and Serbia flags as a welcome to Kraljevo. Brief video from our drive
Belgrade/Serbia had been in the Indian news this week with Mr. Venkaiah Naidu in town, the Indian U19 Football team playing 2 friendlies with the Serbian team this week and then the Honourable Ambassador Mr. Subrata Bhattacharjee according a reception to the Indian Davis Cup team. Somdev Devvarman was also there in Belgrade and he showed up to support the Indian team too.
We arrived at the stadium at around 12 PM in preparation for the match at 2 PM local time. We had seen Saketh warming up Rohan Bopanna initially and then Prajnesh and Ramkumar practice under the watchful eyes of Mahesh Bhupathi and the larger Indian contingent. Few pics / videos below
Match 1: Ramkumar Ramanathan (IND,135) l Laslo Djere (SRB,86) 63 46 67(2) 26
It was very close match with Ram hanging in there against the top-100 Serbian. The crucial momentum shift happened in the first set right after the Serbian had a fall. Though it was just a minor skin cut, it seemed to time with the shift in momentum and Ram raced ahead to take the first set. The second set was fought really hard and the crucial break happened in the mid of the set for the Serbia to take the second set.
In the third set, it was again a tightly fought set with the match going into the tie-breaker. Ram’s serve and volley game hurt him in the initial part of the third set to end up conceding an early big lead and ended up losing the tie-breaker and gradually rolled into the next set in terms of momentum loss to lose the match. Few pics from the match below
Match 2: Prajnesh Gunneswaran (IND,162) l Dusan Lajovic (SRB,56) 46 36 46
Prajnesh started off with a loss of break but from the very outset it was very clear in the few groundstrokes that Prajnesh’s big game would be good enough if he was consistent enough. He immediately broken back after a trade of breaks, gave the break again at 4-5 to lose the set.
Similar pattern followed in the next two sets where a significant chunk of the points were defined by Prajnesh’s winners or unforced errors. Unfortunately Prajnesh struggled to finish lot of the points which he dominated, to close off the points which he had set up. Prajnesh also had an off-day with lot of unforced errors while he continued to be aggressive in his play.
Few pics / vids from the match
Mahesh Bhupathi and Prajnesh Gunneswaran’s thoughts on the match