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Davis Cup: Somdev stuns Lu to give India winning point(Lead)
Kaohsiung (Taiwan), March 8(IANS) Somdev Devvarman produced his best tennis Sunday to outclass World No. 59 Lu Yen-hsun 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 to pilot India into the third round of the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group I, beating Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) here at the Yang-Ming Tennis Centre.

Contrary to the expectation of a close contest, Somdev’s rather easy victory over Lu in the first reverse singles gave India an unassailable 3-1 lead after Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi put the hosts 2-1 in front by winning the doubles Saturday.

After Somdev gave the winning point to India, the last match of the tie became inconsequential and Taiwan’s Yang Tsung-hua beat Rohan Bopanna 6-3, 6-7(6),7-6(5) in three sets to make it 3-2.

Lu, whose win over Rohan Bopanna in straight sets neutralised the advantage Somdev had given India by beating Ti Chen on the opening day, could not reproduce the form against Somdev in a predominantly baseline duel replete with long rallies.

Somdev wore down Lu retrieving everything and running the ball down to all corners of the court in a battle of attrition. To make matters worse, the Taiwanese committed far too many unforced errors, some at crucial stages of the match.

Lu, who missed Taiwan’s first round match against Kazakhstan with a sore right knee, came into this tie with a huge reputation, having upset world No. 10 David Nalabandian of Argentina over five sets in the second round of the Austalian Open, and was a favourite to beat Somdev to take his side into the decisive fifth rubber.

Though it was not apparent in his match against Bopanna on the opening day of the tie, Lu’s movements on court did not look all that fluid against Somdev. Maybe, he has not fully recovered from his knee problem which got aggravated during a Challenger event in Heilbronn, Germany, last month.

The Indian chased everything and retrieved almost every ball, covering his flanks well, to keep the ball in play.

The Indian was quick to forge a 3-1 lead after the three backhand errors by the Taiwanese gave him three breakpoints. With another break of serve in the sixth game, Somdev cruised to 5-1 and then served out the set.

Somdev kept up the pressure in the second set by engaging him in long-drawn-out rallies. He broke the Taiwanese twice, in fifth and seventh game, to go two sets up.

Lu dropped his serve in the first game of the third set, but he broke back immediately to raise a flicker of hope in his camp.

But Somdev was in no mood to relent and the 150th-ranked Indian straightaway went for the kill by breaking the Taiwanese in the fifth game. A double fault in the ninth game ended Lu’s misery and put Somdev one up against him.

India who last year reached the World Group play-off for the the first tine since 2005, will play the winner of the tie between Australia and Thailand in the third round.

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