India lost 4-0 to Serbia in their Davis Cup World Group play-offs tie in Kraljevo on Sunday.
However, it's not all over for the men in blue. The play-off results made no difference to either countries standings, as both teams advance to the World Group Qualifying round in February.
Based on new Davis Cup rules, India won't have to go back to the Asia/Oceania Group immediately. They will now compete in a 24-team qualifying event in February next year to qualify for the 18-team Davis Cup Finals. Four semi-finalists will get a direct entry, while there will be two wild-card entrants. The Championship final will be held between 18-24 November, 2019.
The draw for the qualifying event will be out later this month, and the two teams might just face each other. If that happens, India will have the home court advantage and will analyse things that didn't work out in these play-offs.
Serbia 4, India 0
Ramkumar Ramanathan gave India a flying start to their campaign in the Davis Cup World Group Play-offs. He won the opening set 6-3 against higher-ranked, Laslo Djere. But that was the only moment the Indian contingent got to celebrate. Ramanathan lost the following 3 sets and the match 3-6 6-4 7-6 6-2.
Prajnesh Gunneswaran lost the second tie of the day against Dusan Lajovic 6-4 6-3 6-4. But the biggest shocker came on Saturday, when India's Captain, Mahesh Bhupathi chose Saketh Myneni over N. Sriram Balaji to partner Rohan Bopanna. The Indian duo lost the rubber in straight sets 7-6 6-2 7-6 and gave the host an invincible lead of 3-0.
N.Sriram Balaji couldn't do much in the dead rubber and lost to Pedja Krstin 6-3 6-1, showing India's shortcoming in the Singles category.
Team India has a lot of ground to cover till February next year and will hope to see Yuki Bhambri back in the blue jersey. The loss in Men's Doubles against Serbia, however, might lead to a rethink in strategy by Indian think tank.