New Delhi, Sep.22 (ANI): Indian tennis star Somdev Devvarman, who put the country back into the Davis Cup top tier World Group in South Africa and Yuki Bhambri, met Sports Minister M.S. Gill here on Tuesday.
Devvarman made an impressive return from two sets down to beat Rik de Voest 3-6 6-7 7-6 6-2 6-4 in four hours and 38 minutes in the first reverse singles to give India a winning 3-1 lead over South Africa in the World Group play-off in Johannesburg.
Junior Australian champion Yuki Bhambri wrapped up the tie by beating Izak van der Merwe 3-6 6-3 6-4 in the final dead rubber.
India, who last played in the World Group in 1998, had advanced to the play-off after Australia forfeited their Asia-Oceania tie in Chennai, citing security concerns despite the International Tennis Federation assuring the venue was safe.
Hailing the success of both players, Gill said: "I'm simply delighted that they have won. We now have what I see, a new Team India, a young Team India, in tennis and they will serve India very well for many years to come," said Gill.
Recalling his pre-match jitters, Devvarman said, "I was obviously a little bit nervous going into the match but it was one of those things you know, once you get your feet a little wet, once you play for a little bit, your nervousness goes away and you get used to it. And then you get absorbed in the moment, trying to do your best."
World number 133 Devvarman, who made it to the second round of the U.S. Open earlier this month, won both his singles matches to lead the team in the absence of the experienced Leander Paes, who missed the tie with injury.
Devvarman, runner-up in the ATP event in his hometown tournament in Chennai in January, is seen to be leading resurgence in Indian men's tennis that has been seeking their next singles saviour for some time. (ANI)