India Ace into the Davis Cup World Group Finals

Ellis Park Tennis Stadium, Johannesburg:

After a span of 11 years, India today sealed their place in the Davis Cup Tennis World Group Finals. India, who last played in the World Group finals in 1998, needed to win just one reverse singles, in their tie against South Africa, to wrap up the tie in their favor.

The visitors had won both their opening singles for a 2-0 lead Friday but lost the doubles to South Africans Wesley Moodie and Jeff Coetzee Saturday when Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna conceded midway after Mahesh pulled his right groin.

Somdev Devvarman, in a sensational comeback, outlasted South Africa's Rik De Voest, 4-6, 6-7(3), 7-6(5), 6-2, 6-4 in a near five-hour slugfest in the first reverse singles Sunday to seal India's place in the elite World Group for the first time in 11 years. Somdev's win thus gave India an unbeatable 3-1 win over the hosts.

Somdev, who shares the coach with De Voest, stunned his South African practice partner and the vociferous home crowd.

In the second reverse India fielded the 17-year-old junior Australian Open champion, Yuki Bhambri. Yuki (ranked 422) made a sensational debut by defeating Izak Van Der Merwe (ranked 290). Playing in his first ever Davis Cup tie, Bhambri impressively came from behind to claim a 3-6 6-3 6-4 win and give India a 4-1 victory in Johannesburg.

India has a current ranking of 19 in the Davis Cup Nations Ranking.

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