History appears to be all set to repeat itself. India have beaten Indonesia 5-0 in five previous meetings. The sixth seems to be headed in the same direction.
Leander Paes and Sanam Singh crushed Indonesian pair of Elbert Sie and David Susanto 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 on Saturday in the Asia-Oceania Davis Cup relegation play-off at the KSLTA Stadium to give India 3-0 lead.
India won both the opening singles matches on Friday. Somdev Devvarman started the match with an ace and wrapped it up with an ace too to give India a 1-0 lead by defeating Indonesian Wisnu Adi Nugroho, 1,774 on the ATP list, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 to get the tie rolling. Yuki Bhambri got past a more refined opponent in Indonesia’s No 1 player Chrisrtopher Rungkat 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 to make it 2-0.
The 3.00 pm start was a blessing in disguise for the Indonesians and for the goodly crowd that turned up, with drums and horns for good measure. A late morning start stretching into late afternoon might well have reduced the encounter further in terms of the quality of tennis, not that it rose to any appreciable heights anyway.
Despite coming off a surgery, Somdev, the No 1 Indian, proved to be the fitter and faster of the two and moved far better than his rival. Somdev’s ability to find the corners and also charge the net more often, put Wisnu under a lot of pressure and he committed a number of unforced errors to gift Somdev points aplenty.
The Indian did produce some brilliant down-the-line forehands. He also smacked a couple of double-handed backhand winners to stay ahead all along. He did have some trouble with his first serves but with Wisnu not able to return some of his second serves, it did not matter as Somdev was always in control.
Breaking the Indonesian twice in the first set, Somdev wrapped it up 6-1. Wisnu tried to put up some resistance and hit a couple of good winners to wrong-foot Somdev but he did not have the wherewithal to do any better.
Somdev won the next two sets 6-2, 6-2 with Wisnu forcing deuce only twice in the third set. But he produced some erratic returns to fritter away the advantage. Somdev slammed an ace right down the centre and threw his hands up in delight after giving India a 1-0 lead.
The wiry Yuki had a closer match as Rungkat produced some outstanding strokes and tried to match the Indian initially. But as Yuki was also playing with supreme confidence, Rungkat was pushed on the defensive and he never recovered.
Yet, both treated the crowd to some fine strokes. Yuki broke his opponent twice in each of the three sets and never dropped serve. Except for a brief while in the final set when Rungkat often forced deuce to stay alive, it was Yuki all the way.
The Indonesian also made many unforced errors netting service returns or slamming the ball wide or long to give away points.