India's 2nd ranked tennis star went down to Thomaz Belluci in five sets in the first rubber of the Davis Cup World Group play-off tie between India and Brazil at the the SDAT tennis stadium in Nungambakkam, Chennai.
Bopanna had a match point at 5-2 in the fifth set, that he could not capitalize and Bellucci then saving the match point, came back with his strong baseline play to win: 6-7, 7-6, 7-5, 4-6, 10-8.
1st Set:Bopanna made a good beginning by winning the first set with his Big-servings and was helped 6 aces and 13 winners. Bellucci, the world number 27, was probably undone by the 19 unforced errors in the opening set as the strapping Indian capitalised to seize the lead.
It was an even first set as both players held serve right through and the evenness of the contest was signified by the fact that it went to the breaker. Once into the tie-breaker, Bopanna’s big serves and aggressive play was to the fore as he sealed it 7-2. In the second set, there were service breaks early but the duo was level pegging.
After splitting the first two sets, the Brazilian broke Bopanna in the eleventh game of the third set and then held serve to win the all important third set.However, Bopanna fought back brilliantly in the fourth set, breaking Belluci's serve with a rasping cross court backhand to take it 6-4 and even the match at two sets apiece.The players traded service breaks in the first two games of the fifth and deciding set, but Bopanna broke in the fourth game and then held serve to race to a 4-1 lead.Trailing 5-2 and facing a match point, Belluci won three games in a row to even things at 5-5. The Brazilian finally had the last laugh when he broke Bopanna's serve at 8-8 and then served out the match with the minimum of fuss.
"The lack of playing singles matches made the difference today. There was definitely a chance but lack of singles for past years made the difference. I made him play as much as I could but he came up with some big points at crucial hours," Bopanna said after the match.