Sumit Nagal’s experience played a key role in opening day, says Rohit Rajpal
Sasikumar Mukund had to retire mid-way due to an injury.
India’s non-playing captain Rohit Rajpal heaped praises on Sumit Nagal for his dominating victory in the Davis Cup World Group II match played at the Vijayant Khand Mini Stadium in Gomti Nagar, Lucknow and also came in defence of Sasikumar Mukund who conceded the first match to his Moroccan counterpart Yassine Dlima.
Sasikumar conceded his singles match 7-6 (7-4), 5-7, 1-4 to Dlimi in the third set after he was forced to limp out of the court due to cramps.
“The first match was disappointing. We had the match. I thought we were on our way to finish it in straight sets. This is where a little bit of experience is needed. Sasi, it was his first tie, he consumed a lot of nervous energy. He was worked up and I kept telling him to calm down. It’s important to have your energy levels balanced throughout the match and not fall before the finish line,” captain Rohit Rajpal said in a press conference after the day’s play.
However, Nagal avenged the first tie defeat beating Adam Moundir in 6-3, 6-3 in straight sets as India drew 1-1 parity.
Nagal outclassed Moundir in the second singles with total dominance. Fortunes changed hands a couple of times in the first set between the two players. Nagal, however, broke Moundir in the fifth game to go up 3-2.
Moundir did not pose a big threat to the 26-year-old Indian who came up with some big serves and forehand strokes to claim the match 6-3, 6-3 comfortably.
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“With Sumit it’s different, he’s experienced, there’s a difference of level. In the second, Moundir had nothing to lose against Sumit, so he was going for everything, and he played some unbelievable shots. I think there was a difference of class altogether where Sumit handled it and comfortably came through for India. Ideally, we should have been 2-0 up, instead of 1-1,” Rajpal added.
Meanwhile, Nagal too came out backing Sasi saying he had fared far worse than his compatriot on his debut. “I remember my first match where I was leading and lost the match. I was worse than Sasi and I couldn’t breathe. We all understand, nobody is blaming anyone. How tough your first few matches are when you play for your country and India written on your back. Important part is how you learn from it and how fast you learn from it,” Nagal said.
Rohan Bopanna will play his last Davis Cup match
On the second day of the tie today, Rohan Bopanna will pair with Yuki Bhambri to play the Moroccan doubles pair of Elliot Benchetrit and Younes Lalami Laaroussi. In the reverse singles on the final day, Nagal will play Dlimi and Mukund will face Moundir.
Rajpal, however, said India would decide Sunday’s line-up after the team meeting. “When we get back, we are going to have a team meeting and see what kind of shape he (Sasikumar) is in. If he is in any shape to play tomorrow or not. We’ll discuss it in the team and come up with a strategy tomorrow,” said Rajpal, who is also the .
Action from the Davis Cup will begin at 1pm and will be broadcast live on Doordarshan Sports and Sony Sports Network.
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