A STRAIGHT SET VICTORY by Czech tennis player Jiri Vesely helped the European side beat India 3-1 in the Davis Cup World Group Playoff at the Delhi Lawn Tennis Association (DLTA) complex in New Delhi on Sunday.
The first reverse singles contest between Vesely and India's Yuki Bhambri was enough for the World No.1 side to claim the contest. The Czech took two hours and 12 minutes to defeat the Indian 6-3, 7-5, 6-2 on the rebound ace hard court.
India were already trailing the contest 1-2 by Saturday afternoon. The World No.40 Vesely's win on Sunday was enough to keep the three-time Davis Cup champions in the World Group. India will have to compete in Group 1 Asia/Oceania for a chance to enter the group of 16 elite nations.
Bhambri, who lost his singles contest on Friday, played much better on the last day of the tie. The 23-year-old occasionally hit some exquisite forehand winners but it was his backhand that faltered.
The Delhi boy's backhand errors, which regularly found the net, cost him crucial points which could have made the contest a lot tighter.
He hit some good forehand winners which caught the 22-year-old Vesely on the wrong foot. But too many errors and the lack of consistency made him lose the first set.
The one break of serve in the fourth game was enough for Vesely to seal the set in 42 minutes.
The Indian, ranked 125, found rhythm in the second set and moved far better, helping him earn his first breakpoint opportunity in only the second game. But it was saved by Vesely.
Being 4-3 up, Bhambri had a great opportunity to consolidate on the advantage in the eighth game when he earned three breakpoint chances. However, he wasted all as the Czech fought back to hold serve.
At 5-5, Vesely upped the ante just when it was required to break Bhambri for the first time in the set, and the second time in the match, to seal the second set.
Vesely broke Bhambri twice in the third set to take a big 4-0 lead, which broke Bhambri's resolve of making a comeback. The Indian saved two matchpoints but Vesely pocketed the match on his third chance.