Hillerod (Denmark), Feb 5 (IANS): The Indian tennis team suffered a 2-3 defeat in its Davis Cup 2023 World Group I play-off tie at the Royal Stage Stadium, here on Saturday.
The loss dragged India into the Davis Cup World Group II stage for the first time since the new format was introduced in 2019.
The 19-year old Holger Rune led Denmark's charge in the five-match tie as he took part in all the three wins the hosts pulled off against the higher-ranked India. Sumit Nagal and Prajnesh Gunneswaran registered the two wins for the visitors.
Heading into the second day all square at 1-1, the Indian doubles pair of Rohan Bopanna and Yuki Bhambri suffered a 2-6, 4-6 defeat against Holger Rune and Johannes Ingildsen in the opening rubber of the day.
The responsibility of leading India's comeback in the tie again fell to Nagal, who gave his best against the world No. 9 Rune but could not capitalise on multiple breakpoint opportunities to lose the match 5-7, 3-6.
Earlier, Holger beat Yuki Bhambri in 58 minutes on Friday to set the tone for the hosts on the indoor hard courts. Against Nagal on Saturday, Rune, Denmark's top player in the ATP Rankings, had to take the longer route and won the match in one hour and 37 minutes.
India fielded left-handed Prajnesh Gunneswaran against Denmark's Elmer Moller in the dead rubber. Gunneswaran won the first set despite being broken thrice and clinched the second set in the tiebreaker to win the match 6-4, 7(7)-6(1) in one hour and 39 minutes.