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Spain completes a 5-0 whitewash

Spain gave India a window to salvage some pride, but the hosts could not capitalise on the chance and went down 5-0 in the Davis Cup World Group play-off at the RK Khanna Stadium here on Sunday.

 STUPENDOUS STAMINA: After playing an intense doubles rubber on Saturday, Marc Lopez was back in action in the reverse singles, where he outlasted Sumit Nagal in three sets. PHOTO: SANDEEP SAXENA

An expectant holiday crowd was treated to spells of high quality tennis by the young Sumit Nagal, but his fitness issues saw him squander a 3-0 lead in the deciding third set against Marc Lopez in the first of the reverse singles to go down 6-3, 1-6, 6-3.

With Spain sealing the tie on on Saturday, the dead rubbers were restricted to best-of-three sets.

The 34-year-old Lopez, who had played a stellar role in the doubles with Rafael Nadal on Saturday, reeled off six games on the trot to make it 4-0, and then David Ferrer completed the whitewash with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Ramkumar Ramanathan.

Even with Nadal remaining on the sidelines on Sunday, the spectators were thoroughly entertained. Ferrer put up an exhilarating display against Ramkumar, who had taken a set off Feliciano Lopez in the opening rubber on Friday.

The World No. 13 was an absolute class act with his brilliant returns and fierce passing shots as he outplayed the 21-year-old Indian.

Ramkumar did fire the big serves — he clocked 203 kmph on one delivery — but found Ferrer’s mobility too hard to beat.

The experience should help Ramkumar who has been playing practically non-stop since India’s Davis Cup match against South Korea in Chandigarh. Apart from playing tournaments, the World No. 203 has been training with higher-ranked players to try and improve.

Earlier, Nagal missed out on a golden chance to make a winning debut in Davis Cup, pitted against doubles specialist Marc Lopez, who does not even have a singles ranking.

After a tentative start, the 19-year-old former Wimbledon junior doubles champion clinched the second set, putting on display his all-court game.

However, he was seen struggling to breathe early in the third set when he was up a break.

After a long-drawn second game in which he saved six break-points — three of them before he took a medical time-out — Nagal led 3-0, but lost six games on the trot thereafter, as he could hardly move on a few points.

Nagal was apologetic about his health issues, and promised to play better the next time.

India captain Anand Amritraj conceded that fitness was a major concern for the Indian players, and praised the Spaniards.

“Marc Lopez played four intense sets yesterday. To come back today and play three sets in singles shows phenomenal fitness levels for a doubles specialist,” he said.

The results: India lost to Spain 5-0 [Ramkumar Ramanathan lost to Feliciano Lopez 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1; Saketh Myneni lost to David Ferrer 6-1, 6-2, 6-1; Leander Paes & Myneni lost to Rafael Nadal and Marc Lopez 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-4, 6-4; Sumit Nagal lost to Marc Lopez 6-3, 1-6, 6-3; Ramkumar Ramanathan lost to David Ferrer 6-2, 6-2].

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