Prakash overpowers Dustov as India beat Uzbekistan 3-2

New Delhi, Feb 10 (UNI) Amidst nerve wrecking tension and high drama, Prakash Amritraj overwhelmed Farrukh Dustov in four sets to enable India pip Uzbekistan 3-2 in the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Zone group I tie here today.

Playing the crucial fifth rubber after Rohan Bopanna lost to Denis Istomin, Prakash survived some anxious moments to outplay Farrukh Dustov 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Earlier, Rohan virtually snatched defeat from the jaws of victory as he went down to Denis Istomin in a marathon five-setter enabling Uzbekistan draw level (2-2).

Prakash justified his skipper Leander Paes's faith who had held him back for this all important tie.

There was depression in the stands, as Rohan had virtually thrown away his match from a wining position, as Prakash came on to the court to take on Dustov.

Watched by his father, legendary Vijay Amritraj, Prakash opened the campaign promisingly as he broke his rival in the eighth game to win the set 6-3 in 36 minutes.

But in the second set the Indian looked in command as he broke Dustov in the fifth but committed unforced errors at crucial moments and was broken in the sixth.

Dustov again broke Prakash in the 8th and won the set 6-3 in 30 minutes to draw parity and once again gloom descended in the stands.

However, Prakash soon lifted the gloom as he fought back superbly in the next two sets breaking Dustov in the 4th game of the third set to win it 6-3 and then twice broke his rival in the 5th and 7th game of the 4th set to win it 6-2 and the match.

''I am proud of Prakash and Rohan,'' Paes later told newspersons.

''It is a great win, the boys played their heart out.'' Bopanna put up a great show against Istomin but it was Prakash who was in excellent form and he thrilled the crowd with his controlled game.

''I was confident that Prakash will win. He has in him that extra to go for a kil when needed,'' Paes added.

In a tense battle which lasted 186 minutes Bopanna crashed to unexpected defeat much to the disbelief of a big crowd, 4-6, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (1), 8-6 to make it 2-2 in the tie which India had not dropped a set before today.

Bopanna ranked 288 over hundred places behind Istomin started promisingly as he broke his rival in the ninth game of the first and second set to go up 2-0.

The Indian seemed headed for a comfortable win as he broke Istomin in the first game of the third set but then suddenly he slumped as the Uzbek staged a remarkable fightback towards the end of the this set taking the sting out 'Bofors' Bopanna, who committed as many as 16 double faults against 15 aces.

The Indian double faulted twice in the crucial tie-breaker of the third set and the again in the decider, where he was broken by the Uzbek in the 13th game.

While Bopanna's nerves got the better of him, Istomin kept his cool despite some dubious line calls and raised his game in the decider to outplay the Indian.


Story first published: Tuesday, February 12, 2008, 13:19 [IST]
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