Davis Cup: India expects Prajnesh to lead


While the upcoming Davis Cup match between India and Finland is to be a tough one, Thursday’s draw was in favor of the visitors. This is the first time India will play in World Group 1, after the format change in 2020. In the previous structure, India would play in the Asia / Oceania group, where it has led for seven years. But in their first-ever draw against Finland, the Indians face a team that will field higher-ranked players.

There’s 22-year-old Emil Ruusuvuori – who beat Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev – who is the match’s highest-ranked singles player, 74. Their doubles squad consists of world number 76 (doubles) Harri Heliovaara. and former No.1 Henri Kontinen (currently 46), who won the 2016 Wimbledon mixed doubles and the 2017 Australian Open men’s doubles title. Their weakest link on paper is Otto Virtanen , 20 years old, ranked 419.

India faces Finland in the Davis Cup.

Crucial point for the Indians, the opening team will see their No.1 player Prajnesh Gunneswaran (165) collide with Virtanen.

“We are happy that (Prjanesh) is playing first. If he plays potential and performs, then we should go 1-0, and the pressure will be on (Ruusuvuori) to beat Ramkumar (Ramanathan), ”said Indian team captain Rohit Rajpal.

“Ram is a very versatile player. We are preparing him well for this match.

Ramkumar, India’s third singles player with 187 years, will play the second game on Friday against the Finnish spearhead.

On Saturday, the draw will resume with the double rubber sole. India’s No.1 and No.2 Rohan Bopanna (44) and Divij Sharan (86) will face Kontinen and Heliovaara respectively, followed by reverse singles matches – Ruusuvuori-Prajnesh and Virtanen-Ramkumar as the final match.

The “luck” element of the draw for visitors to Espoo Metro Areena is that Finland’s main singles player will play in the second and fourth pools. As Rajpal claims, Prajnesh will be the favorite to take the victory over Virtanen to add pressure on Ruusuvuori.

Moreover, on Saturday, if the tie is 2-2 and goes into the decisive rubber, it will be the somewhat fanciful Virtanen who takes on the 26-year-old Ramkumar, who traveled to Espoo after reaching the quarterfinals. final. of a Challenger in France, beating former world No. 10 Ernests Gulbis on the way.

Ramkumar, India’s third singles player at 187, will play the second game on Friday against the Finnish spearhead.

However, Prajnesh, who had reached a career high of 75 and is the only currently active Indian singles player to enter the top 100, suffers from recurring wrist injuries this year. If he is not fit for the fourth rubber in the best-of-five match, he will be replaced by the lowest-ranked singles player in the match, world No.573 Saketh Myneni, whose last competitive match took place at a Futures event in March. .

Still, there is confidence in Prajnesh’s current fitness.

“He hits the ball really well and there is no sign of injury,” said team coach Zeeshan Ali.

“There was a scare a few weeks ago when he told me his wrist was bothering him. He returned to Chennai for rehab. But coming here he hit the ball well, he moves well. The court also seems to suit him with speed and everything. It’s the best I’ve seen him play. The objective will be to aim for the two singles against Virtanen and the doubles match to earn the three points required to win the draw. In an indoor hall originally designed for ice hockey, against a tough opponent, India hopes to advance to an eighth consecutive playoff.

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