Davis Cup 2018. N. Sriram Balaji got a straight-game defeat in straight sets in the fourth match here on Sunday with the Indian team losing 0-4 to Davis World Group play-off without registering a single win against Serbia. The hosts had already made their mark by making an unbeatable 3-0 lead.
India does not make any difference to the outcome of the fourth match played today, so India gave Balaji the place of Ramkumar Ramanathan. Serbia also introduced Pedja Krstin in place of Dusan Lazovic.
Balaji, who has been paying more attention to the doubles, lost 3-6, 1-6 in 66 minutes to the Indoor Clay Court at the Kraljevo Sports Venue. Both teams agreed not to play the 5th match.
Balaji said after match, “It was not a bad match for me. I got game points in every service game but could not convert them into points. Even most of the returns were close. Scores look easy, but our game was long.”
India has lost 4 encounters out of 5 encounters against Serbia. India had defeated it in 1927, but then the country’s name was Yugoslavia.
Current US Open champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia had decided not to play in Davis Cup 2018 and Filip Krajinović had been ruled out due to injury but India could not take advantage anyway.
India’s current focus
According to the new rules of the Davis Cup, India will not immediately return to the Asia-Oceania Group. Instead, India will participate in the 24-team qualifying tournament in February 2019 under the campaign to qualify for the 18 teams Davis Cup finals.
12 winners will qualify, while 4 teams from the semi-finals from the 2018 season will enter directly. ITF will provide 2 wild cards for the inaugural Davis Cup finals.