New Delhi, April 10: India were on Tuesday (April 10) drawn to clash with fifth seed Serbia in an away Davis Cup World Group play-off tie, scheduled to be held from September 14-16, in the traditional three-day five-set match format. India beat China 3-2 to make it to the World Group Play-offs in the new two-day three-set match format in Tianjin.
A Novak Djokovic-less Serbia had lost 1-3 to the USA at home in the first round of the World Group in February this year. The last time India and Serbia clashed was also a World Group Play-off tie, which India lost 2-3 in Bengaluru in 2014.
"Countering Serbia in Serbia is always tough. In fact any of those teams coming from the World Group are difficult sides," India's Davis Cup coach Zeeshan Ali said. "And we will be back to old format with four playing members in the team. It's too early to comment on selection as it is still some four months away," Zeeshan added.
It will be fifth year in a row that India will strive to qualify for the elite 16-nation World Group. India lost to Serbia (2014), Czech Republic (2015), Spain (2016) and Canada (2017) in last four attempts. The last time India competed in the World Group was in 2011 when it lost 1-4 to Serbia at Novi Sad in 2011.
In the recent Davis Cup away tie against China, Leander Paes broke the record for the most number of doubles wins. He became the most successful doubles player in the tournament with 43 wins, one more than Italy's Nicola Pietrangeli.
Paes, 44, and Rohan Bopanna defeated Mao Xin Gong and Ze Zhang 5-7, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3) to keep India afloat in the second round Asia/Oceania Group I tie.
Ramkumar Ramanathan and Prajnesh Gunneswaran, named in place of Sumit Nagal, secured victories over Di Wu and Yibing Wu respectively to help India stun China 3-2.
It is only for the second time that India pulled off a victory in the tie after being down 0-2.
Davis Cup play-offs draw:
Argentina vs Colombia
Great Britain vs Uzbekistan
Austria vs Australia
Switzerland vs Sweden
Serbia vs India
Canada vs Netherlands
Hungary vs Czech Republic
Japan vs Bosnia/Herzegovina
Dates: September 14-16