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Somdev beats Lu to clinch Davis Cup tie

March 08, 2009 11:53 IST

Somdev Devvarman routed world number 59 Yen-Hsun Lu 6-2, 6-1, 6-3 to steer India to the third round of the Asia/Oceania Group I Davis Cup competition as the stunning victory gave the visitors an unassailable 3-1 lead against Chinese Taipei in Kaohsiung on Sunday.

Somdev's second consecutive win in the second round tie has made the fifth rubber between Rohan Bopanna and Ti Chen inconsequential.

India will now play the winners of the other second round tie between Australia and Thailand in May to qualify for the World Group play-offs.

It has been more than a decade that India had last played in World Group in 1998.

India had lost 1-4 to Romania in the play-offs last year to relegate to the Asia/Oceania Group I.

Lu, who started as favourite in the rubber, let himself down with unending unforced errors as he allowed Somdev to escape from precarious situations.

The Taipei player set up the points beautifully, mostly by pinning Somdev to the baseline but the winners deserted him, making the job easy for the Indian.

To Somdev's credit, he kept hitting the ball and engaged Lu in long rallies inducing him to commit mistakes. It was an intense battle from the start with long rallies on display and the Indian getting the first chance of a break point.

Lu saved the first two break points in the fourth game but Somdev kept himself in the game and hit a stunning double handed backhand winner to break Lu, creating a 3-1 lead.

A series of unforced errors by Lu proved costly for him in the sixth game as he handed Somdev a double break and a cushion of 5-1 lead.

The Indian served out the set in the next game to go one set up, leaving the home fans and rival camp a dejected lot.

Somdev played his heart out to ward off early threat in the second set as he saved two break points in the second game and held the serve after playing out five deuces.

Mistakes at crucial points by Lu continued to give Somdev advantage and the Indian cashed in on those to get breaks in the fifth and seventh games to go up 5-2 and then served out the second set comfortably.

The third set was no different as unforced errors continued to flow from the racket of Lu and he was broken in the very first game.

It was now the turn of Somdev to spray some errors as he double faulted to drop his serve in the second game and squandered five break points in the third game.

However, Somdev capitalised on the second break point in the fifth game to take the lead yet again and saved three on his own serve in the next to make it 4-2.

Lu saved one break point in the seventh game to hold on but that was just delaying the inevitable as he double faulted in the ninth game to hand the match to Somdev and tie to India.

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