Davis Cup: Yuki outplayed, India go down 0-1 vs Denmark

It was always a tall task for Yuki Bhambri to counter world number nine Holger Rune and there was no surprise as Denmark’s top singles player raced to a straight set win to put the hosts up 1-0 in the Davis Cup World Group I Play-off tie against India, in Hillerod, Denmark, on Friday.

Up against a formidable rival, Yuki needed a special effort but he went down 2-6, 2-6 in mere 58 minutes in the opening singles of the rubber.

The 19-year-old broke Bhambri twice in each set. Rune converted four of the seven break chances while the Indian did not get a single chance to break his opponent.

Rune played percentage tennis while Yuki struggled with his first serve, double faulting four times in the lop-sided contest being played at indoor hard courts.

Yuki has quit singles on the ATP Tour.

Sumit Nagal, India’s number one player, will now have to win the second singles against August Holmgren to keep his team in the hunt.

If India lose this tie, they will be relegated to World Group II.

Paul, McDonald give United States 2-0 lead over Uzbekistan

Mackenzie McDonald and Tommy Paul gave the United States a 2-0 lead in their Davis Cup qualifier against Uzbekistan on Friday, winning their singles rubbers in straight sets in Tashkent.

Fresh off their Australian Open exploits, McDonald wasted little time in getting the U.S. — record 32-times Davis Cup winners — on the board in the indoor arena at the Olympic Tennis School.

Having claimed his biggest career win when he toppled Australian Open top seed Rafa Nadal in straight sets in the second round, McDonald beat Sergey Fomin 6-4 6-1 in little over an hour, sealing the match with an ace.

McDonald is one of three debutants for the American team in the Davis Cup alongside Denis Kudla and Austin Krajicek, with interim captain David Nainkin saying the tournament is a “huge priority”.

Paul, who reached his maiden Grand Slam semi-final at Melbourne Park last week and moved up to a career-high 19th in the world, claimed a 6-1 7-6(6) victory over Khumoyun Sultanov who is ranked 461 rungs below the American.

Although Sultanov had his moments in the contest and won a couple of long rallies to earn the applause of the sparse crowd inside the arena, he was no match for Paul’s power as the American sealed the opening set with an ace.

Sultanov looked set for a surprise comeback in the second set when he stormed into a 4-0 lead but Paul recovered quickly to tie the set at 4-4 before prevailing in the tiebreak, sealing the win with a forehand winner at the net.

The doubles rubber will be played on Saturday with Americans Rajeev Ram and Krajicek set to take on Fomin and Sanjar Ayziev, before the reverse singles matches.

With 24 nations competing in the qualifiers this weekend, the 12 winning teams will qualify for the Davis Cup Finals group stage in September alongside 2022 champions Canada and runners-up Australia while Spain and Italy both received wildcards.

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