The Indian team is staring at a heavy defeat in its Davis Cup World Group I First Round tie after conceding a 0-2 lead to hosts Norway following Ramkumar Ramnathan’s loss to Viktor Durasovic in the second singles here.
Ramkumar, the number one singles player for India, failed to live up to expectations as he suffered a 1-6, 4-6 loss to his lower-ranked opponent Durasovic in one hour and 16 minutes on Friday night.
After Prajnesh Gunneswaran lost to world No. 2 and US Open runner-up Casper Ruud 1-6 4-6 in an expected result in the first singles, the onus was on Ramkumar to keep India in the tie by winning the second match.
But it was not be as Ramkumar, ranked 276 in the world, was no match for 325th-ranked Durasovic who broke Ramkumar’s serve thrice and sent down 12 aces as compared to three of his Indian opponent at the Hakons Hall Hard Court indoor facility.
Durasovic sent down five aces in the first set while breaking Ramkumar’s serve twice. In the first set, Ramkumar was able to hold only his first service to make it 1-1 but after that it was Durasovic all the way. Ramkumar also had two double faults which made things worse for him as Durasovic took the first set easily.
Ramkumar tried to come back in the second set but he failed to hold his second service game to hand Durasovic a 2-1 lead. The Indian was unable to break Durasovic’s serve as the Norwegian fired seven aces. Leading 5-4, Durasovic held onto his serve to close out the match.
Earlier, in the first singles on Friday, world no. 2 Casper Ruud expectedly was too good for India’s Prajnesh Gunneswaran, giving Norway a 1-0 lead.
Ruud, who finished runner-up at the US Open after going down to Carlos Alcaraz on Monday, turned up for national duty four days later and did the job for his team. He beat the 335-ranked Indian 6-1, 6-4 in one hour and two minutes.
After being totally outplayed in the first set, Prajnesh lifted his game in the second to make Ruud’s task tougher. While the Indian failed to get a break point, his more accomplished opponent converted three out of the five opportunities he got.
On day two, Yuki Bhambri and Saketh Myneni will face Ruud and Durasovic in the doubles. In the reverse singles, also to be played on Saturday, Ramkumar will be up against Ruud while Prajnesh faces Durasovic.