Despite the presence of World No. 2 Casper Ruud, the hero for Noway’s dominance over India was the unfancied Viktor Durasovic with his smart singles and doubles game in the Davis Cup World Group tie in Lillehammer.

Two-time Grand Slam finalist Ruud himself was all praise for Durasovic, his “best friend”, even though the two do not play the same tournaments.

“Viktor has played some of his best matches in Davis Cup. It was one of the best matches I have seen him play. In the last Davis Cup tie we had lost the doubles. So, the goal was to win today. Viktor was returning good, serving great. He was the main reason for us winning the first set, and then the third. We didn’t have any strategy. We tried to be aggressive and play well,” said the 23-year-old Ruud.

Durasovic made a telling statement by emphasising that the Norwegian pair played the singles style in the doubles match, and reasoned that it perhaps helped the team win.

“We tried to keep it simple, serve, return and stick to the baseline unless the opportunity presented itself. Not too much poaching or ‘I-formation’. That is also the reason we managed to pull off the match,” said Durasovic, even as he rightfully claimed credit as a team for converting the “big moment points” in the third set.

‘Could have played better’

Yuki Bhambri conceded that the Indian pair did not “come out firing and playing sharp” for a team that was 0-2 down.

Saketh said that being a break down early in the third set made it hard for the Indian team in the doubles. “We could have played better,” Saketh said.

India captain Rohit Rajpal said: “Durasovic played out of his mind”, in both singles and doubles. 

“People rise to the occasion in Davis Cup. Durasovic did. He played better than Casper today in doubles. Ramkumar underperformed in the second singles. He had his chances. Doubles, they played better than us. They deserved to win,” said Rajpal.

Sumit Nagal did execute a consolation win in the fourth rubber, after Durasovic stole the thunder and took the tie away in favour of Norway.

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