Within an hour, Ramkumar Ramanathan did what was expected of him. India’s Davis Cup captain Rohit Rajpal had hoped the 27-year-old would get the win in the opening rubber of the Davis Cup World Group 1 Playoff tie against Denmark. After 59 minutes of play, world No 170 Ramkumar came up with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Christian Sigsgaard, ranked 824.

A short while later, Yuki Bhambri came up with a 6-4, 6-4 win against Mikael Torpegaard to put India in a strong 2-0 lead at the end of Day 1 of the tie.

Ramkumar got a break of serve in the fourth game of the opening set as Sigsgaard looked tentative on the grass court of the Delhi Gymkhana Club. Both players held on to their serves thereon as the Indian took the opening set without much fuss.

He then started to pile on the pressure on the Dane, breaking Sigsgaard’s second service game of the second set to go 2-1 up.

Ramkumar broke again to go 5-2 up and then served for the match, finishing off proceedings with an ace. Through the match, the Chennai-player did not face a single break point.

“I was just trying to make as many returns on this grass and try to move in much as I can,” he said after the match. “Play as many first serves, that did the trick.”

Bhambri, playing in his first Davis Cup tie since 2017, meanwhile broke serve in the opening game of the second rubber against Denmark’s spearhead, the world No 305.

The Dane did break back and held his nerve till dropping serve again at 4-4. Bhambri took advantage and served out the set.

He immediately broke serve again and raced to a 4-0 lead. The Indian was broken when he was serving for the match at 5-2, but held on later to close out the rubber.

“I started off well, as the match progressed I felt better and better and that helped me today,” Bhambri said.

India are now a win away from confirming their spot in World Group 1 for the season.

On Saturday, the tie will resume with the doubles proceedings as Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan will take on the Danish team of Johannes Ingildsen and playing captain and 2012 Wimbledon doubles champion Frederik Nielsen.