Favorites Spain went up 2-0 after the first two matches of the Davis Cup play-off against India today despite Rafael Nadal's absence. Last-minute replacement Feliciano Lopez downed Ramkumar Ramanathan in the first rubber, while Saketh Myneni lost in straight sets to David Ferrer in the other.
India were never expected to mount any serious threat to the star-studded Spanish team, however, their chances of doing so increased drastically when just hours before the match, former World No.1 Rafael Nadal was ruled out of his singles match against Ramkumar Ramanathan with a stomach bug. Hail Indian food!
Nadal was replaced by Feliciano Lopez, who is a doubles specialist and the reigning French Open champion. However, Nadal's absence on the court did not really make a difference to the outcome, apart from the disappointment of his fans gathered at the stadium, as Lopez won the game 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.
Lopez broke Ramanathan in the fifth game of the first set with a forehand winner and then held on to his serve to race to a 4-2 lead. Ramanathan, the World No. 204, fought hard to remain in the set, but Lopez, with his experience, closed off the first set at 6-4. In the second set, Lopez broke the Indian in the first game itself and went on to win the set 6-4. However, just when it seemed like the Spaniard will cruise to a victory, Ramanathan fought back. After going 2-1 up in the third set, Ramanathan had to undergo a treatment on his right knee but came back to win the set 6-3.
But the comeback was short-lived as Lopez took a 3-0 lead in the fourth set and ran through to a 6-1 win to give a 1-0 lead to Spain.
Clay-court specialist David Ferrer faced newly engaged Saketh Myneni in the next rubber (Saketh had proposed only yesterday to his girlfriend at the Davis Cup dinner). Saketh won his first service game to draw par at 1-1, but that's where it ended. The Spaniard rattled off five consecutive points to win the first set 6-1.
The second set appeared to be even more one-sided as Saketh was down 0-5. However, he broke Ferrer in the sixth game and held serve to put up a late, but eventually inconsequential, stand before Ferrer closed it out at 6-2.
In the third set, Ferrer went up 4-0 before Myneni held at love for his first point in the set. However, Ferrer completed the 2-0 win for Spain on the day with a 6-1 win in the set.