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India drink cup of surprise, rout Denmark


Vinayak Padmadeo

New Delhi, March 5

It was an eventful day from start to finish for India in the Davis Cup being held at the Delhi Gymkhana Club.

Before the start of play, they found out that the Danish team had changed their doubles combination, which was not brought to the knowledge of either non-playing captain Rohit Rajpal or coach Zeeshan Ali, as customs dictate.

On the court, the doubles pairing of Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan had to dig deep to beat Mikael Torpegaard and Frederik Nielsen 6-7 6-4 7-6 to put the World Group Playoff 1 tie to bed with a 3-0 lead. Later, Ramkumar Ramanathan saw off an inspired Johannes Ingildsen 5-7 7-5 10-7 to make it 4-0.

Prior to the on-court action, the Danes had pulled a fast one on the Indians with the last-minute replacement of big serving Torpegaard, who partnered Nielsen, instead of Ingildsen.

It got the Indians agitated as they weren’t informed about the change till about 9:30 am. According to the rules, the teams have to name replacements one hour before play begins. And when the match umpire Ali Katebi called up Rajpal to check the side’s combination, he failed to inform the India captain about the Danish change.

This led to a heated argument between the Indian camp and Katebi, wherein Bopanna accused the officials of not keeping track of the proceedings. However, after admitting his mistake, Katebi offered India an additional 30 minutes of practice time.

“The biggest thing for us was that we went into our match with a 2-0 lead. That puts a lot of pressure on the team you are playing against. We started well, we both served well and both teams had some chances. Credit to Torpegaard who came up with big returns in the tiebreak which set it apart,” Bopanna said.

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