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Istomin rallies to beat Bopanna

February 10, 2008 14:09 IST

Denis Istomin scripted a sensational comeback to beat Rohan Bopanna in a marathon five-setter to draw Uzbekistan level in the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Zone Group I tie against India in New Delhi on Sunday.

In a keenly contested battle lasting more than three hours, Istomin stunned the crowd favourite 4-6, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (1), 8-6 to make it 2-2 in the contest in which India had not dropped a set before today.

Ranked 184, more than 100 places above Bopanna, Istomin's win has made the second reverse singles tie between Prakash Amritraj and Farrukh Dustov win at all cost contest.

Amritraj is yet to play a match in the tie after picking up a stomach bug before the competition started.

Bopanna seemed headed for a comfortable win after pocketing the first two sets rather easily. However, Istomin staged a remarkable fightback towards the end of the third set that took the sting out 'Bofors' Bopanna, who committed as many as 16 double faults against 15 aces.

Bopanna double-faulted twice in the crucial tie-breaker of the third set and the again in the decider, where he was broken by the Uzbek in the 13th game.

While Bopanna's nerves got the better of him, Istomin kept his cool despite some dubious line calls and raised his game in the decider to outplay Bopanna and keep his country's hopes alive in the tie.

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