Young Yuki Bhambri gave India a winning start and a 1-0 lead against Chinese Taipei but Somdev Devvarman was taken to his limit in the second singles match before bad light suspended play in the Asia/Oceania Group I Davis Cup tie here Friday.
Bhambri seemed headed for an easy victory after winning the first two sets with relative ease but an ankle injury in the third hampered his progress. In the end, the Indian showed great grit to battle past Taipei No.1 Tsung Hua Yang 6-2, 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-3 in two hours and 52 minutes.
Somdev, who is India's top-ranked singles player, toiled hard against 284th-ranked Ti Chen in the second singles in fading light. The Ti Chen-Devvarman match was tied 6-7, 7-6, 1-6, 6-2, 7-7 when play was suspended.
The Indian was left shell-shocked in the first set by an opponent he has beaten twice earlier. Somdev struggled in the second set as well, just about edging the Taipei opponent. In the third, Ti Chen completely outplayed Somdev thrashing him 6-1 but the Indian repaid the favour in the next set by winning 6-2. The final set went right down to the wire with both players missing chances to finish the match.
Somdev had four match-point opportunities to give India a 2-0 lead but fluffed all his chances. On the other hand, Ti Chen had two break-points with the set tied at 6-6 but failed to convert giving Somdev a way back into the match. The match will now continue Saturday (11.00 a.m. local time).