Norway came up with a 3-1 win against India in their Davis Cup World Group 1 tie at the Hakons Hall in Lillehammer on Saturday, after they won the doubles match 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. It was a result that took the hosts into the World Group Qualifiers, and India will now have to play in the Group 1 Playoffs to stay in this rung of the tournament dubbed the ‘World Cup of Tennis.’
The hosts, led by world No 2 Casper Ruud, came into the tie on Saturday with a strong overnight 2-0 lead from Day 1.
On Friday, Ruud came up with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Prajnesh Gunneswaran, and Viktor Durasovic upset the India No 1 Ramkumar Ramanathan with the same scoreline.
Davis Cup: India in trouble as Ruud, Durasovic give Norway 2-0 lead on Day 1
The Indians had to win the sole doubles rubber to stay in the tie. For that, they fielded their in-form duo of Yuki Bhambri and Saketh Myneni - who had won five Challenger and two Futures titles together this year. Norway sent in Ruud and Durasovic.
Both teams shared early breaks in the first set, but Myneni’s serve was broken for the second time to put Norway up 4-2. They held their serve thereon to take the opener.
The Indians took a bathroom break between sets and came out refreshed. There was greater energy in their movement and more power in their smashes as they started to claw their way back into the match.
At 3-2, Bhambri and Myneni got an important break of serve off Durasovic’s racquet and held on to win India its first set in the tie.
Just as the Indians had done, the Norwegians took a short break off court after the set and found a break in the fourth game of the third set - breaking Bhambri’s serve for the first time in the match.
The Indians tried to rally their way back into the match but Ruud and Durasovic held firm to keep them at bay and served out the tie.
Both teams later decided to continue with a dead fourth rubber, changing their lineup to field two players who had not yet featured in the tie. Norway opted to send in 22-year-old Lukas Hellum Lilleengen, who will be playing only his second Davis Cup match. India meanwhile sent on Sumit Nagal who has been making his way back on tour this year after a lengthy injury absence.
Nagal went on to win the match 6-2, 6-1 to give the visitors a consolation win.
Rubber 1: Casper Ruud beat Prajnesh Gunneswaran 6-1, 6-4
Rubber 2: Viktor Durasovic beat Ramkumar Ramanathan 6-1, 6-4
Rubber 3: Casper Ruud/Viktor Durasovic beat Saketh Myneni/Yuki Bhambri 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
Rubber 4: Sumit Nagal beat Lukas Hellum Lilleengen 6-2, 6-1