Davis Cup, India vs Korea: VM Ranjeet faces Min Hyeok Cho in opener

Paes, the senior-most player involved in the tie, said gelling with Purav Raja will be a "true test" since they are playing for the first time together.

Updated: January 31, 2013 15:59 IST
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New Delhi: V M Ranjeet will open India's Davis Cup campaign against an unranked but talented Min Hyeok Cho of Korea in the Asia/Oceania Group I tie, beginning on Friday.

India number two Vijayant Malik will take on Korea number one Suk-Young Jeong in the second singles on day one of the tie at the R K Khanna Tennis stadium.

Surprisingly, Korea chose not to field their number two player Yong-Kyu Lim on day one, keeping him fresh for the doubles rubber on Saturday.

On day two, Leander Paes and Purav Raja will take on Lim and Ji Sung Nam.

On the final day of the tie, Ranjeet will play Jeong while Malik will take on Cho in the reverse singles.

India's non-playing captain S P Misra said the draw has come out well for the hosts.

"It's a positive draw. I always wanted our number one player (Ranjeet) to play first. If he can pull off something, it becomes easy for our second player," he said at the post-draw press conference.

Paes, the senior-most player involved in the tie, said gelling with Purav Raja will be a "true test" since they are playing for the first time together.

"Their doubles players look good. It really looks interesting for us. Purav is a fabulous player with a lot of skill and game. We need to gel well, it's about combination and communication especially when the surface is slow and bouncing," Paes said.

"All four players will have to bring their game together on the court. Doubles is about finding holes in the match."

Ranjeet also looked charged up for the tie-opener saying,"Honestly, I wanted to play the first match. I was expecting to play against Lim but I am happy that I will not be playing him. It's not that I underestimate the other player, just good that I will be playing the other guy. I will try to get the first point."

Asked how he was guiding the players, Paes said the mantra is to stay relaxed.

"It's about dealing with the nervous energy and how you overcome that. They are going to feel it. You can't tell them not to feel it. You have to have four game plans ready. If A does not work, switch to B, don't wait too long for it.

"In my 24 years of playing, I was never worried about the results. If anything my journey can tell them that with self belief and hard work anything can be changed. Whether they lose badly in three sets or win easily in three sets, I will always be in their corner."

Asked if it was his toughest Davis Cup assignment considering the team composition, Paes replied in a negative.

He recalled his tie against Korea way back in 1991 in Delhi when he played a decisive fifth rubber against Ji Seung-Ho and won. He also mentioned an away tie against France in 1993 when he played against some formidable players and produced the results.

"No one gave us a chance at that time. But we believed in ourselves strongly."

Going into the tie, Vijayant Malik said he was confident of playing the second match.

Meanwhile, Korean captain Yong-II Yoon expected a close contest.

"Our players and Indian players are similar, their rankings are also similar. There's not much difference," he said through an interpreter.

Asked why they chose to field Cho instead of Lim on day one in the crucial singles rubber, Yoon said, Cho was in good touch and played well against Australia. And since Paes is there in Indian team, they wanted the experienced Lim to play the doubles."

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