Somdev Devvarman pulled off a surprise straight sets victory over Jiri Vesley to help India level 1-1 with the Czech Republic at the opening day of their Davis Cup World Group playoff in New Delhi
The 30-year-old Indian, ranked 164 in the world, dominated the proceedings to win 7-6 (3), 6-4, 6-3 in two hours and 40 minutes in sweltering heat against Vesley, world number 40 and the Czech’s top player in the absence of Tomas Berdych.
Earlier, Lukas Rosol fired 11 aces to beat India's number one player Yuki Bhambri 6-2, 6-1, 7-5 in less than two hours to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
Three-times champions and Davis Cup powerhouse Czech Republic have not dropped outside the competition's elite since 2006, while India last made it to the World Group in 2011.
“I’ve always enjoyed playing in Delhi,” Devvarman told a post-match news conference. “It was a very, very close match regardless of the scoreline. The first-set tie-break was huge. The match was determined by how hard I was working and how well I was serving.”
The opening set went on serve till the tie-breaker where the Indian found the first break at 2-2 to nose ahead. The Czech came back strongly in the opening game of the second set as he broke Devvarman’s serve, but the Indian broke back in the sixth game to level at 3-3 and then broke his opponent again to clinch the set. Devvarman wore down Vesley in the third set in humid conditions, with the Czech appearing to be struggling in the heat.
“The gameplan worked out unbelievable to be honest,” said Devvarman. “The weather and the court played to our advantage when I played. Captain was happy with that, I was happy with that, the team was happy too.”