Reverse singles, same result: India lose tie
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Showing a dash of spunk that did not quite follow from his disastrous debut on Friday, VM Ranjeet kept the Davis Cup tie against South Korea alive for close to two and half hours into the final day. But that was pretty much all there was to cheer for, for India, as the visitors completed the formalities with straight set wins in both the reverse singles. With India trailing 2-1 and needing to win both of the day's rubbers to effect an unlikely turnaround, it was not the Ranjeet who could hold serve just once during the first rubber walloping that turned up on Sunday.
More willing to throw in the slice and the drop shot than he was on Friday, Ranjeet was able to hang with 19-year old Suk-Young Jeong, ranked almost 200 spots ahead of him, for stretches of the game. But the old weaknesses remained -- Ranjeet still struggled to hit winners from the baseline or find the consistency to keep his end of long rallies up. The error count slowly but surely mounted and though level 4-4 in the first and second sets, Ranjeet lost 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.
Ranjeet started briskly, winning five straight points, and it took a Jeong ace to stop the run. In the early stages, it was Jeong who looked rusty, often having to turn to his serve -- which at 180kmph plus, was a good 20 to 30ks faster than Ranjeet's -- to bail him out. Except for Ranjeet's second service game, during which it looked like he was the beneficiary of a series of dodgy line calls, he held serve more or less comfortably. By then the Indian had settled on a strategy of taking the pace off his shots on the slow surface. Typically, he would plump for a drop shot in the middle of a brewing rally and put away the return on the volley. Though Ranjeet's approach shots weren't always the best, Jeong was caught by surprise enough times to make the strategy effective, for a time.
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