Casper Ruud and Viktor Durasovic registered wins with identical scorelines against Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Ramkumar Ramanathan.

Casper Ruud and Viktor Durasovic registered easy wins against Indian challengers Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Ramkumar Ramanathan handing Norway a 2-0 lead against India in the Davis Cup 2022 tie. While the result of the game involving Casper Ruud was pretty much known to everyone even before the game started, the lack of fight shown by Ramkumar against a lower-ranked opponent has put India in trouble.

Prajnesh Gunneswaran is coming off a tough season plagued with injuries. Last year he finished as India’s No. 1 singles player. But from there on, he has been on a decline. His only finals appearance was way back in March at the Challenger Monterrey where he lost to experienced Spaniard Fernando Verdasco. Since then, Prajnesh has not played much tennis and had recently returned back after a three-month break.

Ramkumar Ramanathan on the other hand has developed into a good doubles player breaking into the top 60s. But in singles, he has not been consistent, going down to low-ranked players frequently. He is also outside the top 200 in the ATP singles ranking.

Prajnesh Gunneswaran vs Casper Ruud (1-6, 4-6)

The first tie as expected was dominated by World No. 2 and the US Open finalist Casper Ruud. Gunneswaran couldn’t catch up with the speed of the 23-year-old as he was quick on his feet finding the right placements. There were too many unforced errors by the Indian costing him the match.

In the second set, Prajnesh served well, finding the placements compared to the first set, and there were fewer unforced errors. However, to beat a player of Ruud’s calibre would need more effort which was not to be seen. In the end, the match ended in over an hour’s time, handing Norway the first point in the tie against India.

Ramkumar Ramanathan vs Viktor Durasovic (1-6, 4-6)

This was more of a must-win encounter for team India as the fourth tie is the singles match against Ruud. So winning this game would ultimately take the tie to the decider. There wasn’t much fight from the Indian player, going down very cheaply inside two sets. Ram has been following the strategy of playing close to the net for a long time. This hasn’t worked out in his favour and it was quite evident in this match.

The serves from Durasovic were very powerful and Ramanathan could hardly do anything on the return. Ram generally produces a good number of aces, which too were missing costing him the match.

Both Ram and Gunneswaran lost the first game in a similar fashion as they found it difficult to adapt to the condition quickly. With the progression of the second set, both looked good, but not enough to defeat the Norwegian duo. The Indians had started training for the tie a week before but couldn’t capitalize on it.

With this loss, India is 0-2 down going into the second day with three more matches remaining.

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