4 years running, India falter in World Group Playoffs

Edmonton, Sep 19: India were left to battle it out in the Asia/Oceania Zone yet again after Ramkumar Ramanathan’s defeat in the must-win fourth rubber as Denis Shapovalov steered Canada back to the elite Davis Cup World Group on Sunday. India needed Ramanathan to create some magic on the final day of the tie but his failure to convert chances proved crucial as world No. 51 Shapovalov shut the door on the visitors with a decisive 6-3 7-6 (1) 6-3 win.

Their fate already sealed, Yuki Bhambri won the dead fifth rubber against Brayden Schnur 6-4 4-6 6-4 as India lost the World Group Playoff tie 2-3 to the hosts.In a see-saw battle, Bhambri overcame a lapse of concentration and an early break in the deciding set to finally convert his fifth match point and finish the indoor away tie on a positive note. It is now fourth straight year that India have not managed to cross the Playoffs hurdle, having lost to Serbia, Czech Republic and Spain in the previous three attempts.Canada thus have earned their spot back in the 16-nation World Group after losing the first round to Great Britain in February this year. India will again strive in the Asia/Oceania Group I in 2018 to get to the Playoffs stage.

Indian team captain Mahesh Bhupathi rued the missed chances on all three days. “We did not take our chances. We had a few on all the days including today when Ramkumar had four set points in the second to even the match,” Bhupathi said. In a nervous start, Ramanathan lost 11 straight points but gradually the serve and volley strategy helped him negate Shapovalov’s fiery ground strokes.

The Chennai youngster took some time to settle but by the time he settled down, Shapovalov had gone up 4-1 with a break of serve in the opening set. It was one-way traffic till the eighth game as the Canadian left-hander lost only three points till he came out to serve out the opening set.Belgium vs France in final Paris: Australia’s hopes of reaching the first Davis Cup final in 14 years were shattered when Belgium fought back from an overnight deficit to win their semifinal 3-2 and set-up a title showdown with France.

Source Tribune Inidia