South Africa’s chances of qualifying for the elite World Group of the Davis Cup look a long, long way away.
That after India took a 2-0 lead at the Ellis Park Indoor Arena on Friday. Somdev Devvarman and Rohan Bopanna both won the opening day’s singles matches.ÔÇ¿ÔÇ¿Devvarman, the highest-ranked singles player in the tie at 133rd in the world, started the ball rolling for India with the 24-year-old easily accounting for Izak van der Merwe 7-6 (7/5), 6-3, 6-4.
Then the big-serving Bopanna roared back from 0-5 down in the first set to beat Rik de Voest 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 after being out of tennis with a knee ligament injury for three months. Bopanna was aided by 19 aces.
Now South Africa need to win Saturday’s doubles and Sunday’s reverse singles to salvage what now appears a forlorn dream of returning to the elite segment of the Davis Cup after an 11-year absence.ÔÇ¿ÔÇ¿Bopanna replaces the injured Leander Paes as Mahesh Buphati’s partner against South Africa’s Wesley Moodie and Jeff Coetzee.