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India draw level as Bellucci retires against Somdev

Last updated on: September 19, 2010 13:35 IST

"Loha pighal gaya (the cast iron has melted)," said a fellow scribe.

The phrase aptly describing Thomaz Bellucci's retirement from his match against Somdev Devvarman while trailing 6-7 (3), 0-4.

- The 'Indian Express' 24 and counting...

Bellucci's forfeiture enabled India draw level (at 2-2) with Brazil in the Davis Cup World Group play-off tie in Chennai on Sunday.

The Brazilian No 1 had had problems with the conditions (and his fitness) in his opening match against Rohan Bopanna as well. However, he somehow survived to win and give his side the lead.

On Sunday, it became too difficult for him to produce an encore.

The opening set was a closely contested affair.

The games went on serve till Bellucci offered Somdev a plethora of chances in the ninth game. The Indian had as many as three opportunities to break the Brazilian in what was the longest game of the set.

He squandered them all.

A few games later, the stage was set for a tie-break. And then Bellucci made a terrible faux pas.

Having got more than 70 per cent of his first serve in during the set, the Brazilian struggled with it when it mattered the most. Bellucci managed just one point on his serve to virtually gift Somdev the opening set.

The Indian carried forward the momentum into the second set, racing to a 3-0 lead -- breaking Bellucci's serve in the second game.

Then the Brazilian took a medical break and for once, it seemed he was struggling to cope with the heat -- he had problems on the opening day as well -- and might find it difficult to continue.

However, he decided to carry on, but only briefly.

Once Somdev broke his serve a second time in the fourth game, Bellucci decided he had had enough.

His withdrawal was greeted with a loud applause from a palpably vociferous crowd.

Bikash Mohapatra Chennai