India just refuse to go away. After looking dead and buried, 200 feet under, following the first day of their Davis Cup World Group Playoff against Serbia, India produced a fightback for the ages with a remarkable doubles victory on Saturday, courtesy Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna. And on Sunday, in the first reverse singles, Somdev Devvarman pulled off another amazing five-set victory to level the tie at 2-2.
Having surrendered the first set rather tamely, there was a sense of déjà vu around the KSLTA stadium in Bangalore, with the match seemingly headed Serbia's way, much like the first two singles, which they won so handsomely on Friday.
However, Somdev is the kind of player who almost thrives on adversity, and in came a wonderful comeback in the second set, and then a terrible flounder in the third, before that adversity piqued his comeback-mode button again to come away with a one-more-game-and-both-of-them-would-have-collapsed 1-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory in three hours and 37 minutes.
The first set was a blink-and-you-will-miss it one with Lajovic taking the opener comfortably as Somdev found himself firmly planted behind the eight ball in pretty much every single one of his service games. The only surprise was that Somdev actually won one game in that rather forgettable – from India's point of view, of course – first set.
The second set was much more of a contest and with the match poised on a knife's edge at 5-4 to Somdev, in came that much-needed, where-have-you-been break of serve to give India the second set.
With the force now firmly with India, Somdev took full advantage, breaking Lajovic in the second game of the third set for a 2-0 lead, which he then bulged to 4-1. But, then came a brilliant riposte from the Serb, with Lajovic almost saying "even we Serbians can produce comebacks, you know."
The world number 61 rolled in five straight games against a stunned Somdev to wrap up the third set 6-4, and suddenly everything looked bleak for India again.
However, if there is one quality that is redoubtable about Somdev it is his ability to fight it out, that grit, that never-say-die attitude.
And the moment Somdev saw even the slightest of weakness in Lajovic, who did struggle with a heel injury throughout the match, he was on top of his opponent. The fourth set was a "you break, and then I shall break, and then why don't you do it again" encounter with the players trading five breaks in a row, before Somdev pulled off the decisive one in the eighth game for a 5-3 lead.
The Indian held his nerve in the ninth game, serving out the set with an incredible backhand volley, to bring India right back into the tie, yet again.
In the win-at-all-costs fifth set, Somdev took early control, breaking the Serb and holding on to the lead, and with Lajovic beginning to tire, the Indian brought out that final burst of energy to get a second break in the final set to take a 5-2 lead.
There was no way Somdev was going to lose from this position, and the 29-year-old, India's best singles player, closed out the match in style to send this unbelievable tie to the final match, where Yuki Bhambri will play Filip Krajinovic.