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HometennisBopanna ends Davis Cup career on a high, India win 3-1 against...

Bopanna ends Davis Cup career on a high, India win 3-1 against Morocco

Rohan Bopanna brought the curtains down on his Davis Cup career with a comfortable straight set win alongside Yuki Bhambri before Sumit Nagal won his reverse singles as India sealed the World Group II tie against Morocco 3-1, here Sunday.

The 43-year-old Bopanna, coming out to play his 33rd and final tie, and Bhambri raced to a 6-2 6-1 win over Elliot Benchetrit and Younes Lalami Laaroussi in one hour and 11 minutes at the Mini Stadium.

India’s number one singles player Sumit Nagal outgunned Yassine Dlimi 6-3 6-3 in the first reverse singles to seal the home tie. Rookie Digvijay Pratap Singh will make his debut in the inconsequential fifth rubber.

It is only the second time that Nagal has won both his singles matches in a Davis Cup tie. He had achieved a similar result against Pakistan in 2019 in Kazakhstan. Nagal earned early breaks in both the sets, leaving Dlimi playing catch-up.

The win takes India to next year’s World Group I play-offs.

An emotional Bopanna rested his India-shirt on the court, marking the end of his Davis Cup career in which he played 50 matches in 33 ties, winning 23 rubbers, including 13 in doubles.

Watched by his family and friends, Bopanna acknowledged their and fans’ appreciation and blew kisses towards the stands.

About 50 of Bopanna’s family and friends flew to Lucknow to watch the Coorg player in action one last time in Davis Cup.

They were wearing T-shirts that had a tri-colour-waving Bopanna picture printed.

Younes could not hold his serve even once in the match while the Indians faced just one break point when Bhambri served and saved that too.

The Indians drew the first blood when they broke Younes. On a Bhambri backhand return at 30-15, Younes netted the volley. Bhambri smashed a volley winner on Younes’ return to earn the first breakpoint.

Benchetrit went for an angled volley winner on a Bhambri return but the ball went out as Indians led 3-1. Bopanna came out serving the next game at love to make it 4-1.

Younes’ serve came under attack once again in game eight. Bopanna found a winner at 15-15 and the Morocco player served a double fault to be down by two break points.

Yuki converted the set point with a volley winner on a feeble Younes return. The first set ended in a jiffy, just 34 minutes as the Indians lost five point on their serve.

Bopanna’s big serve was at work in the second set too as he began the proceedings with a comfortable hold but Bhambri’s serve came under pressure in the third game when at 30-all, his half-volley pick up flew out of the court.

The Indians, though, saved the break point.

Younes was up 40-0 on his serve in game four but lost his way, serving double fault and making a lot of unforced errors to lose his serve for the third time in the match.

Bhambri served out the match.

(Published 17 September 2023, 10:35 IST)

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