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Davis Cup: India hold on as Bopanna-Sharan defeat Boelleli-Berrettini in men's doubles

Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan came from behind to beat the Italian combination of Simone Boelleli and Matteo Berrettini 4-6 6-3 6-4 in an one-hour 43 minutes battle at Calcutta South Club.

PTI PTI
Kolkata Published on: February 02, 2019 16:07 IST
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Bopanna and Sharan came from behind to beat the Italian combination of Boelleli and Berrettini

Living up to their reputation in doubles, Indian pair of Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan bounced back from one-set down to beat Italian combination of Simone Boelleli and Matteo Berrettini and stay alive in the Davis Cup Qualifiers here Saturday.

In the must-win rubber, Bopanna and Sharan upped the ante by breaking newcomer Berrettini in the fourth game of the second set before sealing the issue 4-6 6-3 6-4 in an one-hour 43 minutes battle at Calcutta South Club.

Making a comeback for the first time since 2012, southpaw Sharan complemented senior pro Bopanna and wrapped it up with a forehand volley winner in the end.

Down 0-2 after losing their two singles rubber in the opening day, India will now look to make amends in the two reverse singles.

"We had good understanding and kept fighting," Sharan said giving credit to his senior partner.

Playing his third Davis Cup match, the Delhi lad said: "Yes, there was pressure playing for India. But it felt normal having Rohan by my side. I really enjoy playing on grass. I just kept it simple without trying anything extra."

Earlier in the day, Berrettini's sterling show in his debut Friday earned him a spot in the doubles match in place of their top player Marco Cecchinato.

Berrettini, who had won the St Petersburg Open last year with Italian top-ranked Fabio Fognini, impressed with his big, powerful serves in company of doubles specialist Bollelli who had won the 2015 Australian Open.

But gradually, Bopanna outwitted Berrettini by setting up the games for Sharan to seize on the opportunities with his accurate crosscourt returns.

The momentum swung in favour of the Indian pair after they broke Berrettini in the fourth game of the second set. 

Sharan's fine volley into the open court was too much for the young Berrettini who hit the net while returning with a forehand.

What followed was a marathon ninth game that stretched to seven minutes. The pair first fended off a break point before getting a set point which they failed to convert.

Another serve to the backhand brought up another set point, which they finally converted with a volley at the body of Bolelli, who hit the net on return.

It was Bopanna's experience that helped India in the decider as the pair broke Bolelli twice after Sharan failed to hold his serve in the fourth game.

In the fifth game, Bopanna played some good volley while Sharan was backing him up at the net. 

A clinical Bopanna forehand and a fine volley by Sharan gave the Indians two break points.

Bopanna fired in a deep return that proved too much for Bolelli, who hit the net to concede the set.

All fired up with the packed crowd rooting for them, the Indian pair cruised to 0-30 in the ninth game with Bolelli conceding the second point by a double-fault as they broke them again.

Serving for the set, Bopanna and Sharan once again complemented well to keep their hopes intact.

Earlier 2-1 up in the first set, the Indian duo came within sniffing distance of a break by forcing the fourth game to deuce. Italians were 30-0 up on Bolelli's serve but Berrettini netted a volley and Sharan made it 30-all.

Not giving up, Berrettini shot a well-directed volley to make it 40-30 but Bolelli's backhand went long as India had a deuce.

Sharan did well to direct a backhand return of serve down the line to bring up a break point but they failed to convert it as the Italians grabbed the opening set by breaking Bopanna in the ninth game.

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