New Delhi: A charged up V M Ranjeet put up a spirited fight before losing while Vijayant Malik suffered a tame defeat as India, without its top players, lost the Asia/Oceania Group I Davis Cup tie against South Korea 1-4 here on Sunday.
Ranjeet fought gallantly in the do-or-die fourth rubber before losing 4-6 4-6 2–6 to Suk-Young Jeong, who is ranked 190 places above him at 321, after battling for two hours and 32 minutes in the first reverse singles of the day.
Later, Malik, who was expected to earn hosts a consolation win, went down 2-6 4-6 against debutant Ji Sung Nam in the inconsequential fifth rubber.
After Leander Paes and Purav Raja's doubles win yesterday, India needed to win both the matches on Sunday to advance to the second round.
It's the first time in seven years that India have lost a home tie. In September 2005 India had lost 1-3 to Sweden in the World Group play-off at the same venue here.
The Korean singles players were far superior to the Indians but Ranjeet won many a heart by putting up a decent fight on the slow centre court of the R K Khanna Tennis stadium.
India had a very good chance to win this tie but for unavailability of 11 top players, the advantage of playing at home against a manageable opponent was lost.
Sanam Singh, one of the players in the rebel group, watched from the stands as Ranjeet fought for India's cause.
Now India face Indonesia in the first-round play-off tie from April 5-7 at home and it will be interesting to see if the standoff between the rebel players and AITA ends and the country is able to field its A team.


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