Home » India See Off Morocco, Win Davis Cup Tie 4-1
Marroco News North Africa

India See Off Morocco, Win Davis Cup Tie 4-1

The hosts won the doubles and the first reverse singles — Sumit Nagal completed his double in the fixture — to seal the tie in Lucknow India gave Rohan Bopanna a winning Davis Cup farewell on Sunday as the hosts beat Morocco 4-1 in their World Group II tie at the packed Vijayant Khand Stadium here. Tied 1-1 after sharing the two singles on Saturday, Bopanna, 43, gave the hosts the lead by ensuring victory in the doubles partnering Yuki Bhambri before Sumit Nagal won the first reverse singles to seal the tie.

The win helped India book a place in the 2024 World Group-I Play-offs with 11 other nations. The victory will also be a big boost for the Indian players, who will aim for more medals at the Hangzhou Asian Games starting next week. India were relegated to the World Group-II in February after losing to Demark 2-3 in the World Group-I Play-off, having lost to Norway 1-3 in the World Group-I first round in September last year.

The 43-year-old Bopanna, playing in his 50th Davis Cup tie, and Bhambri outplayed Elliot Benchetrit and Younes Lalami 6-2, 6-1 before India No.1 Sumit Nagal won his second rubber by beating Yassine Dlimi 6-3, 6-3 in the first reverse singles. Digvijay Pratap Singh beat Walid Ahouda 6-1 5-7 10-6 in the dead final singles rubber. The teams began the day level, Dlimi having beaten debutant Sasikumar Mukund, who retired in the third set due to cramp and Nagal having defeated Adam Moundir in straight sets.

Ranked world No.7 and No.65 respectively in doubles, Bopanna and Bhambri broke their rivals in the fourth and eighth games to take the first set. In the second set, the Indians broke for a second time in the sixth game before racing to wrap up the rubber that lasted a little over an hour.

Richly experienced playing at the highest level, Bopanna and Bhambri were in control from the start. While Bopanna was solid on the first serve, Bhambri was sharp at the net in the first set. With the match slipping away, the Moroccan pair could have avoided the second break in the second set, but Benchetrit’s three unforced errors handed the opportunity to the Indians.

Cheered on by family and friends, Bopanna acknowledged them by blowing kisses towards the stands after the match. The spectators played the ‘dhol’ and other music during the breaks to build a festive atmosphere. Nagal got off to a flying start, breaking Yassine Dlimi twice to take the first set 6-3. His court coverage and powerful ground strokes left his Moroccan rival gasping.

Things didn’t change much in the second set. India’s world No.156 broke the 557-ranked Dlimi in the second game to go 2-0 up. Nagal then held serve to see off his challenge at ease. “The win is a big confidence booster for the Indians as now they will be heading for the Asian Games,” India’s non-playing captain Rohit Rajpal said. “We are expecting them to increase the number of medals this time.”

While showering praise on Nagal, 26, for winning both singles, Rajpal defended debutant Sasikumar Mukund, who conceded the first match against Dlimi on Saturday due to cramp. “We had our plans and Nagal was supposed to be attacking against Dlimi and he did exactly that,” he said. “It was the first match for Mukund, and he consumed a lot of nervous energy. 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.”