India take on a depleted Pakistan squad in a Davis Cup qualifying tie in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan on Friday and Saturday after much delay and multiple controversies.
Ramkumar Ramanathan opened the tie against Muhammad Shoaib in an emphatic manner as he trounced the Pakistani 6-0, 6-0 in just 42 minutes. Shoaib saved two match points in the end but Ramanathan was just too good for the Pakistani. The Indian put up a strong serving performance as Shoaib did not get a look at a single break point on the Indian's serve. On the other hand, the Indian converted his break points opportunities almost every time.
Sumit Nagal crushed Huzaifa Abdul Rehman 6-0, 6-2 to give India a 2-0 lead in the tie against Pakistan. It was a serving masterclass from Nagal, where Rehman failed to get a single break point. Rehman fought hard in his service games and even helped Pakistan register their first two games of the tie but was simply undone by the quality of the Indian.
FOLLOW THE LIVE UPDATES OF THE TIE HERE:
15:55 IST: Sumit Nagal beats Rehman 6-0, 6-2 to give India a 2-0 lead in the tie against Pakistan.
15:39 IST: Pakistani camp have won their first service game as Rehman held his serve against Nagal are much tussle, where Nagal missed one break point while Rehman took the game in his 5th game point.
15:26 IST: Nagal breaks Rehman early once again and then holds his serve to take a 2-0 lead in the second set.
15:18 IST: Nagal crushes Rehman 6-0 to take the first set of the second match of the day.
15:08 IST: Nagal breaks Rehman once again to take a 3-0 lead in the first set of the second match of the day.
15:03 IST: Sumit Nagal breaks Huzaifa Abdul Rehman in the very first game of the match and then held his serve to take a 2-0 lead.
14:22 IST: Ramkumar Ramanathan demolishes Muhammad Shoaib 6-0, 6-0 in just 42 minutes to win the first match of the tie for India.
14:09 IST: Ramanathan has broken Shoaib early in the second set and then held his own serve to take a 3-0 lead.
14:00 IST: Ramkumar Ramanthan takes the first set 6-0 against Shoaib with utmost ease. The Indian hardly broke a sweat.
13:51 IST: Ramanathan has a very healthy lead in the first game with two breaks of serve as he leads 4-0.
Ramkumar Ramanthan will be serving as he begins the Davis Cup tie against Muhammad Shoaib.
India's current squad for the tie is as follows: Saketh Myneni, Ramkumar Ramanathan, Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, Sumit Nagal and Leander Paes. Captain: Rohit Rajpal
Pakistan's squad for the Davis Cup tie: Huzaifa Abdul Rehman, Shoaib Khan, Yousuf Khan, Ahmad Kamil and Amjad Hafeez. Captain: Muhammad Shoaib
Where is the Match Being Played?
The temperature in Nur-Sultan is expected to hover around minus 9 degrees celsius but the match is taking place in indoor hard court conditions at the National Tennis Center.
The Controversial Build Up to the Game
India and Pakistan were supposed to play in September in Islamabad, Pakistan but the tie was postponed on India's insistence due to the tension between the neighbours over the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.
As the tie approached once again, AITA continued to insist ITF to shift the tie to a neutral venue. In the meanwhile, all the major Indian players, including captain Mahesh Bhupathi, refused to travel to Pakistan citing security issues.
AITA had to go on and announce a depleted squad with only a couple of big players, including Leander Paes. However, then ITF shifted the venue out of Pakistan and the major players were available again.
With injuries in play as well, AITA announced a strong squad for India but appointed Rohit Rajpal as the captain instead of Mahesh Bhupathi.
Pakistan's top two players Aisam-ul-haq Qureshi and Aqeel Khan pulled out of the tie in protest against ITF shifting the venue out of Pakistan, speaking against the treatment.