Sasikumar retired hurt, Nagal leads India’s fightback to end day one
Sasikumar, hampered by severe cramps, retired from the match against Yassine Dlimi, with the score reading 7-6(4), 5-7, 1-4 in his opponent’s favour
LUCKNOW: Hosts India started its campaign in the Davis Cup World Group II First Round match against Morocco on a disappointing note when the country’s second highest-ranked singles player, Sasikumar Mukund, conceded the opening singles match due to severe cramps here on Saturday.
The Chennai-born Sasikumar, hampered by severe cramps, retired from the match against Yassine Dlimi, with the score reading 7-6(4), 5-7, 1-4 in his opponent’s favour.
Later on Saturday, Sumit Nagal defeated Adam Moundir in straight sets to lead India’s fightback as they drew 1-1 parity against Morocco on Day 1.
India had picked Lucknow to exploit the weather conditions against Morocco but the move seemed to have backfired as Sasikumar withdrew from the match trailing 1-4 in the third set after a three-hour-long battle at the Vijayant Khand Mini Stadium on Saturday.
Having opted for an outdoor hard court surface as the players were comfortable playing on it, India’s plans went haywire as the weather played spoilsport. Despite changing the start of play to provide relief to the players from the high temperatures, the Indians suffered a big setback because of the hot and dry conditions.
Sasikumar did well to fight back after being broken in the ninth game and immediately broke back to level the scores 5-5 in the first set. The 26-year-old Indian went on to win the tie-breaker 7-4 to give India a good start.
Sasikumar started the second set with a break but Yassine Dlimi fought back superbly to break back in the eighth game and made it 4-4. Dlimi broke Sasikumar’s serve again in the 12th game to win the second set 7-5.
Sasikumar started the third set with a break in the hard-fought first game but the Moroccan broke back immediately in the next game and the Indian unable to move a lot due to cramps, was leading 4-1 when Sasikumar threw in the towel.
The Sunday action will see Rohan Bopanna play his last Davis Cup match. 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.