Bengaluru, April 7 (IANS) Promising tennis player Ramkumar Ramanathan helped India get off to a winning start with a 3-1 triumph over Uzbekistan's Temur Ismailov in the second round Asia/Oceania Zone Group I Davis Cup tie here at the KSLTA Tennis Stadium on Friday.
Ramanathan, who recorded his third straight win after two consecutive victories against New Zealand in February during the first round, won 6-2, 5-7, 6-2, 7-5 in the first rubber that lasted for three hours and 30 minutes.
"You always feel the pressure playing at home. But it's always advantageous. As you saw in the match, it came down to belief and who was willing to take that extra step. So I think I raised my game up and with all the crowd...yeah, it helped my game," Ramanathan said after the match.
Ramanathan won the first set easily with Ismailov trying to find his feet in alien conditions with the sweltering afternoon heat taking a toll on the 22-year-old.
But at 4-3 in the second set, the Uzbek made a comeback stretching Ramanathan all the way to finally draw level at 1-1.
"I need to work on my serve still," said Ramanathan, who hit 16 aces but was also guilty of a lot of double faults, especially in the second set where he made seven of them.
The ploy was to drain out the visitor by playing long rallies. Ramanathan used his cross-court forehand to good use as well coupled with his big serves.
After taking a 2-1 lead, Ismailov was pushed to the corner as Ramanathan looked to seal the tie in the fourth set. But the 406-ranked player refused to throw in the towel by not letting Ramanathan run away with the game at any stage during the fourth set.
But in the end, the Chennai-based player held fort with a serve and volley winner to put India in the driver's seat.