Bopanna squanders away the 2-0 advantage, loses to Denis Istomin

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New Delhi, Feb 10 (UNI) Leading 2-0, Rohan Bopanna virtually snatched defeat from the jaws of victory as he went down to Denis Istomin in a marathon five-setter enabling Uzbekistan level in the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Zone group I tie against India here today.

In a tense battle which lasted 186 minutes Bopanna crashed to an 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 heading 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.

UNI HSB RAR RN1621

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