- India have their hopes hung on the shoulders of Yuki and Ramkumar
- Yuki has also shown that he can control the game and overcome nerves when faced with crunch situations
India will expect Yuki Bhambri and Ramkumar Ramanathan to repeat their recent giant-killing acts against a completely transformed Denis Shapovalov when the team takes on Canada in its fourth straight attempt to qualify for the Davis Cup World Group, here from September 14.
Shapovalov made the world take note of him with his shock win over Rafael Nadal at the Montreal Masters. He then became the youngest player to reach the fourth round of the US Open, only his second Grand Slam.
The 18-year-old and world number 51 Shapovalov also scalped Juan Martin Del Potro and Jo Wilfred Tsonga in his astonishing rise in world tennis in the last few months.
On the other side, India have their hopes hung on the shoulders of Yuki and Ramkumar, who too created a splash by knocking down Gael Monfils and tennis' latest hot property Dominic Thiem, recently.
A lot was expected from the two Indian youngsters since their arrival but injuries to Yuki, ranked 157, and lack of confidence in Ramkumar (ranked 154) has marred their careers.
Of late, both Yuki and Ramkumar have shown encouraging results and thus instill hope that they are capable of pulling off a win over the left-handed Shapovalov.
Yuki has matured as player and shown the mental toughness, requisite to sustain pressure of Davis Cup. In his recent wins, Yuki has also shown that he can control the game and overcome nerves when faced with crunch situations.
Ramkumar, with his big serve and ever-improving fitness also gives India confidence. Tackling Vasek Pospisil, the other singles player named by Canada, should not be a big problem for Yuki and Ramkumar.
He might be higher-ranked than both the Indians at number 82 but he is coming into the tie after five straight losses on the ATP Tour, the last being in the first round of the US Open.
Yuki played against him back in 2014 when he lost to the Canadian in the quarterfinals of the Chennai Open while Ramkumar has never played against him.
But it was Pospisil who had won both his singles when Canada hosted Great Britain in the World Group first round in February this year. Shapovalov had lost both his matches, including the deciding fifth rubber in which he was defaulted for hitting the umpire with a ball, struck out of frustration.
If Yuki and Ramkumar can even get one point on day one, it will make a huge difference to how the tie will shape up for India.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:49 PM IST