Czech Republic's Radek Stepanek and Adam Pavlasek beat Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna 7-5 6-2 6-2 in the doubles rubber of India's Davis Cup World Group Play-off tie against Czech Republic. The Czechs now have a 2-1 lead with the reverse singles to be played on Sunday.
WATCH HERE: Paes and Bopanna vs Stepanek and Pavlasek
On Friday, Somdev Devvarman's helped India level the Davis Cup World Group Play-off tie against Czech Republic with an upset win over Jiri Vesley after Yuki Bhambri's tame defeat in the opening singles.
Somdev's biggest victory of the season could not have been timed better as India were in a spot after Bhambri's 2-6 1-6 5-7 loss against big-hitting Lukas Rosol, the world number 85.
Somdev came out and maintained his impeccable record on the DLTA courts with a 7-6(3) 6-4 6-3 win over 40th-ranked Vesley in two hours and 40 minutes, yet again showing that
ranking was a mere number in Davis Cup.
Somdev has not lost a single match here since 2010 and Vesley has never won a live rubber in his Davis Cup career and the status quo remains.
Somdev has suffered defeats against players, ranked outside 400 (Emilio Gomez, 402) on the Challenger circuit in a very ordinary 2015 season so far but the hard-working Indian
has managed to win when it matters for the nation.
It was not as hot and humid as expected at the DLTA where more than 500 people turned up to watch the action. The intermittent breeze and cloudy sky made the weather conditions
quite tolerable with temperature remaining between 31 and 34 degrees Celsius.
Somdev’s fitness, his strong legs and the heart for a fight were at work yet again. He moved swiftly on the court, hit strokes with precision and always found a way to open the court for winners, a total of 65.
The slow court worked to Somdev’s advantage as left-handed Vesley struggled to cope with it, unable to hit flat and hard as Rosol managed against Yuki. But Vesley said "something was not right" with him on Friday as he felt exhausted after 25-30 minutes.
Now seasoned players Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna will take on Radek Stepanek and Adam Pavlasek in the doubles rubber tomorrow.
It was Somdev’s only sixth win over a top-50 player. He had beaten Ivo Karlovic (25) and Rainer Schuettler (33) and Marin Cilic (15) in 2009. In 2013, he beat Alexander Dolgopolov (25) and Benoit Paire (39).
ALSO READ: India 1, Czech Republic 1: Somdev Wins, Bhambri Loses
In complete contrast to the first match in which the first set was over in just 24 minutes, Somdev and Vesley fought a battle of attrition. After 27 minutes into the match, the score was 2-1 on serve as a baseline slugfest was on.
There were seven break chances in those three games, four for Somdev, but no player could convert. The Indian raised the level of his game by several notches, spraying winners, a staggering 32, all over the court and ended up firing 11 aces in the first set. The serve was not fierce but Somdev found the perfect angles to keep the ball out of Vesley's reach.
Overall, Somdev served 20 aces.
Day 1 (Friday): Yuki Bhambri lost 2-6, 1-6, 5-7 to Lukas Rosol; Somdev Devvarman won by 7-6 6-4 vs Jiri Vesley
Day 2 (Saturday): Rohan Bopanna-Leander Paes vs Adam Pavlasek-Radek Stepanek
Day 3 (Sunday) : Yuki Bhambri vs Jiri Vesley; Somdev Devvarman vs Lukas Rosol
Where to Watch live
The India Vs Czech Republic Davis Cup doubles action is scheduled for 12 noon IST (8:30 Czech Republic time) with live TV coverage in India on DD Sports, while Czech Republic viewers can watch the entire action live on Czech Tv.
Keep In Mind:
The top seeds in the 2015 World Group play-offs, Czech Republic, travel to India, who edged out New Zealand in their Asia/Oceania Zone Group I clash in Christchurch to reach this stage.
Three-time champions the Czechs have never lost to India in three meetings, although their last tie was back in 1997.
In last year's play-offs, India were extremely close to achieving promotion but were edged out in a deciding fifth rubber by Serbia. They were last in the World Group in 2011.
Davis Cup powerhouse Czech Republic, who won recently in 2012 and 2013, are fighting to keep intact their record of not dropping outside the competition's elite since 2006