With two sets to love against an opponent ranked 400 places below him, it looked like an easy win for Somdev Devvarman in the first match of the Asia Oceania Group I tie of the Davis Cup in Christchurch, New Zealand on 17 July.
But India's No. 1 ranked tennis player squandered his 4-6, 4-6 advantage against his New Zealand opponent, Michael Venus, and ended the match with a score of 6-3, 6-3, 6-1. This was an unlikely outcome given that Devvarman claimed the Winnetka Challenger just last week after playing the longest final in the history of the Challenger tournaments.
Venus told Yahoo News after the match that it was one of the best wins of his career. "I wasn't doing anything wrong in the first couple of sets but he was playing very well and chasing everything down. I was able to up my game a bit more and really show some fight in the third set and from then I was able to stick to the game plan and keep going. It's one of the best wins of my career and it's against a guy who has been previously ranked in the top 100."
In the second rubber of the day, Yuki Bhambri, ranked 151 in the world, took on New Zealand's number 2, Jose Statham, ranked 345 in the world and won 6-2, 6-1, 6-3.
After day 1, neither team has the advantage. Tie score: New Zealand 1-1 India.
On Saturday, Rohan Bopanna and Saketh Myneni will take on the Kiwi combination of Artem Sitak and Marcus Daniell in the doubles. The reverse singles will be held on Sunday.
The winner of the tie gains a spot in the World Group playoffs in September.