KOLKATA: The gamble of playing on grass did not work out for hosts India, at least on the opening day, as Italy lived up to their reputation to win both the singles in the Davis Cup Qualifiers at the Calcutta South Club here Friday.
Andreas Seppi experienced some early hiccups before getting past Ramkumar Ramanathan 6-4 6-2 in the opening rubber, while 22-year-old Matteo Berrettini made a winning Davis Cup debut, cruising past India number one Prajnesh Gunneswaran 6-4 6-3.
With 0-2 down, India’s doubles pairing of Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan finds itself in a must-win situation on Saturday.
For Italy, top-ranked singles player Marco Cecchinato was paired with Simone Bolelli, the 2015 Australian Open winner in the doubles.
“Focus is on tomorrow. We know we have a job at hand. It will be a lot harder. No time to give up now,” non-playing captain Mahesh Bhupathi told reporters after the opening day’s struggles.
India had bounced back from a similar situation to win in China 3-2 in Asia/Oceania Group I rubber last year and Bhupathi drew inspiration from that turnaround. —PTI