For the first time in the Davis Cup, India has been relegated to World Group 2, after the team suffered a 3-2 defeat to a Holger Rune-led Denmark team. On Day 2 of the World Group 1 Playoff clash on Saturday, Rune featured in a changed Danish lineup for the doubles match, came up with a straight-sets win and later beat Sumit Nagal to secure the tie for the hosts at the Royal Stage, Hillerød, Denmark.
Rune paired up with Johannes Ingildsen to beat the Indian team of Rohan Bopanna and Yuki Bhambri 6-2, 6-4. Later, in the fourth rubber, Rune scored a 7-5, 6-3 win over Nagal.
On Day 1, Friday, Rune had beaten Bhambri 6-2, 6-2 only for Nagal to make it 1-1 in the tie after a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over August Holmgren.
The Danes were originally set to field Ingildsen (ranked 358 in doubles) and Christian Sigsgaard (720 in doubles) against world No 17 Bopanna and No 90 Bhambri. But the hosts decided to replace Sigsgaard with world No 9 singles player Rune, and the impact was immediate as the Danes raced to a 4-0 lead in the opening set.
In the second set, four errors by Bopanna at the net handed the Danes a break on Bhambri’s serve, which proved to be the difference in the second set, giving Denmark a 2-1 lead.
This was a big blow for the Indians who would have hoped to win the doubles match and then try to win the deciding fifth rubber. But with Denmark winning the doubles match, it meant that Nagal needed to come up with a major upset to keep India in the tie.
The 25-year-old Indian did manage to match up to Rune, and at one point even had two set points on his own serve. But the 19-year-old Dane started to wrestle back control and took the first set 7-5. The second set saw Rune sixth game to go up 4-2. That was all he needed to secure the tie for the hosts.
The results sees India drop down to Group 2.
Later on, Prajnesh Gunneswaran was fielded by India for the dead rubber fifth match, and he came up a 6-4, 7-6 (1) winner against Elmer Moeller.