India's Ramkumar Ramanathan and N Sriram Balaji rose to the occasion in the high-stakes match in Islamabad on Saturday, blunting Pakistan's challenge to grab a 2-0 lead in the Davis Cup World Group I play-off tie.
Aisam-ul-haq Qureshi was fired up and gave it his best in a close first singles encounter, but the hard circumstances and high intensity of the match took a toll on him when he sustained a hamstring injury in the third set, ending any chance of a close match finish.
Aisam, 43, served ten double faults in the match, going for broke, while Ramkumar, who served exceptionally well throughout, also returned better in the second set to win 6-7 (3) 7-6 (4), 6-0.
The way that Ramkumar served and played percentage tennis determined the result of the match. He kept the points brief and crisp while serving nine games at love.
In a match in which he fired 20 aces, Ramkumar, trailing by a set, wriggled out of a difficult situation when serving at 3–4. He was down 15–40 and never looked back.
Aqeel Khan put up a fight against the seasoned Pakistani player Balaji, a doubles specialist, but the Indian won the rain-soaked second singles 7-5, 6-3.
Balaji exerted control over the game. In both sets, he once again broke Aqeel. In the end, he won easily thanks to his movement, powerful serve, and use of drop shots.
India are one win away from advancing to the World Group I.