If India’s upcoming Davis Cup tie towards Finland is to be a troublesome activity, the draw on Thursday got here out in favour of the guests. That is the primary time India will play within the World Group 1, after the format was modified in 2020. Within the earlier construction, India would play within the Asia/Oceania Group, the place they’ve bossed for the previous seven years. However of their first ever tie towards Finland, the Indians come up towards a crew that may subject increased ranked gamers.
There may be the 22-year-old Emil Ruusuvuori – who has crushed the likes of Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev – who’s the best ranked singles participant within the tie, 74. Their doubles crew consists of World No 76 (in doubles) Harri Heliovaara and former No 1 Henri Kontinen (presently 46), who gained the 2016 Wimbledon blended doubles and 2017 Australian Open males’s doubles title. Their weakest hyperlink on paper is 20-year-old Otto Virtanen, ranked 419.
Crucially for the Indians, the opening rubber will see its No 1 participant Prajnesh Gunneswaran (165) come up towards Virtanen.
“We’re comfortable that (Prjanesh) performs first. If he performs to potential and performs, then we must always go up 1-0, and the strain shall be on (Ruusuvuori) to beat Ramkumar (Ramanathan),” says India crew captain Rohit Rajpal.
“Ram is a really versatile participant. We’re making ready him nicely for this match.”
Ramkumar, India’s third highest ranked singles participant at 187, will play the second rubber on Friday towards the Finnish spearhead.
On Saturday, the tie will resume with the only real doubles rubber. India No 1 and a pair of Rohan Bopanna (44) and Divij Sharan (86) respectively will play Kontinen and Heliovaara, adopted by the reverse singles matches – Ruusuvuori-Prajnesh and Virtanen-Ramkumar as the ultimate match.
The ‘luck’ factor from the draw for the guests on the Espoo Metro Areena, is that Finland’s foremost singles participant will play within the second and fourth rubbers. As Rajpal claims, Prajnesh would be the favorite to select up the win towards Virtanen so as to add strain on Ruusuvuori.
Moreover, on Saturday, ought to the tie be levelled at 2-2 and go into the deciding rubber, it’ll be the unfancied Virtanen who will come up towards the 26-year-old Ramkumar, who travelled to Espoo contemporary after reaching the quarterfinals of a Challenger in France, beating former World No 10 Ernests Gulbis en route.
Prajnesh nevertheless, who had reached a profession excessive of 75 and is the one presently lively Indian singles participant to have damaged into the highest 100, has been affected by recurring wrist accidents this 12 months. Ought to he not be match for the fourth rubber within the best-of-five match tie, he shall be changed by the bottom ranked singles participant within the tie, World No 573 Saketh Myneni, whose final aggressive match was at a Futures occasion in March.
But there’s confidence concerning Prajnesh’s present health.
“He’s been hitting the ball very nicely and there’s no signal of any harm,” says crew coach Zeeshan Ali.
“There was a scare just a few weeks again when he instructed me his wrist had been bothering him. He went again to Chennai to get some rehab performed. However coming right here, he’s been hitting the ball nicely, he’s shifting nicely. The courtroom additionally appears to be suiting him with the pace and all the pieces. That is one of the best I’ve seen him play.” The intention shall be to focus on the 2 singles rubbers towards Virtanen and the doubles match to achieve the required three factors to win the tie. At an indoor venue that was initially designed for ice hockey, towards a tough opponent, India hopes to make it to an eight consecutive playoff.