Romania win opening singles to go 2-0 up against India

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Bucharest, Sep 19 (UNI) India had the worst possible start to their campaign in the Davis Cup World Group play-off tie against Romania as both Prakash Amritraj and Somdev Devvarman lost their respective singles matches here today.

While Amritraj went down fighting 5-7, 7-5, 2-6, 2-6 to Victor Crivoi, Devvarman was outplayed in straight sets 6-3, 6-1, 6-0 by Victor Harnescu.

In the opening match, Amritraj was up against an in-form Victor Crivoi. The Indian gave a good fight in the first set, taking an early break to race 3-0 ahead. However, the Romanian came back strongly, winning five consecutive games to go 1-0 up.

Prakash, who was clearly struggling with an injury to his left hamstring, raised the hopes of Indian fans in the second set, battling his way into the match from 3-5 down at one stage to a set all.

Those hopes proved to be a wishful thinking, however, as Crivou broke Amritraj in the fifth game of the third set to sneak a 3-2 lead.

The Indian was playing quite well at the net considering it was a clay court, which is not exactly one of his favourite surfaces.

However, Crivoi was in sublime form and again broke Amritraj in the seventh game to take a formidable 5-2 lead. He then served out the next game to take the set.

The Romanian was on the aggressive early on in the fourth set, breaking Amritraj in the third game.

The set then went with the serve until the seventh when Amritraj hit his return long to hand his rival another break.

Crivoi held his serve in the next game despite a strong rally by Amritraj who was up 40-15 at one stage to emerge victorious.

In the second match, the inexperienced Devvarman had a mammoth task, as he had to take on Victor Hanescu, who is ranked 67th in the world.

The 23-year-old gave a good account of himself in the opening set, displaying good speed and mobility as he engaged his rival in long volleys.

The set went with the serve until Hanescu broke the Indian in the eighth game.

The Romanian gave no chance to Devvarman in the next set, displaying tremendous precision to break his opponent in the third, fifth and seventh games.

He was even more dominant in the third and final set, winning six consecutive games and breaking Devvarman three times in the process to run away with the tie.

The action will now shift to the doubles with the famed 'Indian Express' going into action.

India, three times tournament runners-up, are in the playoffs for the first time in three years after having defeated Uzbekistan and Japan to qualify.

They last contested the World Group in 1998.

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