Sumit Nagal registered India’s only victory in a dead rubber match of the Davis Cup World Group first round match as Norway won 3-1 at the Hakons Hall in Lillehammer. Norway was 3-0 up when the former junior Wimbledon winner registered a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Lukas Hellum Lilleengen in one hour and 22 minutes.
The Indian team didn’t have a great first day as both Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Ramkumar Ramanathan lost their respective singles matches to world No. 2 Casper Ruud and Viktor Durasovic, respectively, on Day 1. Hence on Day 2, India had to win all three matches.
In the first match of the day, the duo of Yuki Bhambri and Saketh Myneni lost 3-6, 6-3, 3-6 to Casper Ruud and Viktor Durasovic. After a disappointing first-set loss, the Indian pair pulled their socks to rally a 6-3 win in the second set. In the decider, the Indians were level at 1-1 but they soon went down 3-1 in the fourth game. The hosts surged ahead to take a 4-1 lead and went on to win the third set 6-3 and win the fixture for Norway
The Indian team didn’t have a great performance through the fixture list barring the final game and reacting to these disappointing results, Ramkumar Ramanathan addressed his struggles at the end of the first day’s play. He said, “I was struggling with rhythm in the start of the match and you know even those long games in the first set during the third game when I was serving it put me a little down as I lost the game and I couldn’t get the rhythm back. And that let him start going for his shots and at the end of the day, it’s a matter of a few margins, a few points here and there. I think he stayed aggressive and I stayed defensive and that made the difference.”
Match 1: Casper Ruud beat Prajnesh Gunneswaran 6-1, 6-4
Match 2: Viktor Durasovic beat Ramkumar Ramanathan 6-1, 6-4
Match 3: Casper Ruud/Viktor Durasovic beat Saketh Myneni/Yuki Bhambri 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
Match 4: Sumit Nagal beat Lukas Hellum Lilleengen 6-2, 6-1