Sport

Davis Cup: Seppi outclasses Ramkumar to give Italy 1-0 lead

Davis Cup: Seppi outclasses Ramkumar to give Italy 1-0 lead”

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. So fittingly, he got "promoted" to Italy's No. 1 for the Davis Cup Qualifier against India after the 19th-ranked Marco Cecchinato was ignored in singles and named for the doubles rubber.

Marco Cecchinato is in the Italian team and he had beaten Novak Djokovic in last French Open.

The tone was set from the beginning as Berrettini, World No 53 in singles ranking, took the lead with an early break in the first game of the first set.

Berrettini came out all guns blazing in the second match to break the left-handed Gunneswaran, who is ranked 102, in the first game.

"Throughout my career we have adapted to situations not only playing in different style but also in the ATP circuit there was a change where it turned into a super tie-breaker in the third set".

Berrettini, who had beaten Prajnesh in the Chengdu ATP a year ago, raced to a 15-40 with two big forehands - one inside-out and one cross court - before converting his break point.

But Berrettini, whose returns sent Prajnesh to all corners of the court, proved too strong for the Indian, winning the game by breaking his opponent in the final game.

Berrettini began the second set exactly the way he started the first, breaking Prajnesh to take a 1-0 lead.

The crowd did their best supporting Prajnesh but the nerves soon started playing for the Indian who remained in the game by holding his serve till the seventh game.

World No 37 Seppi beat Ramkumar Ramanathan 6-4, 6-2 in the new Davis Cup format cut from the best of five sets to three. Another Aussie scored the first Davis Cup win, with the 19-year-old Alex de Minaur beating Mirza Basic 6-3 7-6 in an hour and 27 minutes, losing serve once and scoring two breaks on the other side to prevail in straight sets and deliver the second point for Australia. "I'm very happy that he's here with us", said Prajnesh, who will play the second singles tie on Friday against Italy's debutant Mateeo Berrettini. Prajnesh completely surrendered to Matteo Barreettini 6-4, 6-3 in less than an hour. I gave my best, Seppi was better today.

Hailing Berrettini, Prajnesh said: "He is a very good first strike player with a big serve, big forehand. As players we just have to adapt to the format and you know to make use of the advantage towards us".



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