Published from Mumbai, Delhi & Bhopal

Ramkumar faces Denmark’s Christian Sigsgaard in first match of Play-off 1

New Delhi : India’s ace tennis player Ramkumar Ramanathan will be up against Denmark’s lower-ranked Christian Sigsgaard in the first singles match of the Davis Cup in the World Group Play-off 1 at the Delhi Gymkhana Club on March 4.

The 24-year-old Sigsgaard is currently ranked 824th rankings in singles while 170th-ranked Ramkumar is much above his opponent. In the second singles, 590th-ranked Yuki Bhambri will meet Mikael Torpegaard who is currently placed on 305th in the world rankings.

On the second day of the tie, India’s ace doubles players Divij Sharan and Rohan Bopanna will go up against Johannes Ingildsen and former Wimbledon men’s doubles champion Frederik Nielsen.

In the reverse singles, the 27-year-old Ramkumar will face Torpegaard while Yuki will be up against Sigsgaard on Saturday.

With Prajnesh Gunneswaran not playing against the visitors, Ramkumar and doubles specialist Rohan Bopanna will have to shoulder the responsibility. The Indian team will also be banking on Yuki Bhambri, and Divij Sharan, ranked 142nd in doubles, who complete the four-member Indian team for the World Group Play-off 1 tie.

India’s biggest concern, however, will be when Yuki will face Mikael Torpegaard in the second singles match. Torpegaard, ranked world No. 305 is in good form, and it could be very difficult for the 29-year-old injury-prone Yuki to get past Denmark’s Torpegaard.

A win in the two-day long series will see India make Davis Cup 2022 World Group I stage while a loss will see them drop into Group II. India had dropped down to the Group I playoffs after losing to Finland in the Group I tie in the Davis Cup 2021 season.

However, India’s non-playing captain Rohit Rajpal said that it is a good draw as Ramkumar can have the best chances against Sigsgaard.

“As you know, we are playing on grass. We know the conditions better, which gives us a slight edge. Ramkumar has been practising a lot here. He knows the track very well. Overall it will be a good match for us. We have a better chance in the first match, so I’m looking forward to the matches,” he said.

Commenting on the draw, Denmark captain Frederik Nielsen said the draw was favourable for them as they wanted to put the 24-year-old Sigsgaard in the first match. He added that the team is upbeat against the hosts and it will be a good match on the first day.

“See, we are here as underdogs, I don’t think anyone has an advantage. Yes, India is playing here in home conditions that is the biggest thing for them. We have experience of playing against the biggest teams in the world. We did very well against Spain, one of the top teams in the world,” said Nielsen.

“Christian is doing good, he is in great form, he is very tricky on the court, so let’s see what he has on the first day for us. I don’t want to predict anything now but can assure you a good match on the first day. We believe that we also have an advantage, but nothing to take away from India. They are playing in home conditions,” he added.

This will also be India’s first Davis Cup home tie in three years and around 3,800 fans will be allowed to attend the event at the Delhi Gymkhana Club.

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