A singular challenge


Ranjeet and Malik, unlike the Koreans, took to the court with little prelude. In the hour that followed, Ranjeet looked the most comfortable when he could swing his forehand from a stationary base. When on the move, the same shot, possibly the best in his reportoire, suffered from a lack of power and accuracy. To use his forehand as an offensive weapon then, it will have to come early in the rally and possibly at the back of a big serve (and the ensuing weak return) that will allow him the time to line the shot up. The stocky 27-year old is, however, nowhere close to being a demon server.

That will only be one of Ranjeet's worries. The notoriously slow and bouncy courts here are expected to prolong rallies and the match duration, and will probably count against Ranjeet, who doesn't entirely convince one on the state of his fitness. Malik had said a Ranjeet win will ease the pressure off him a bit when he takes to the court later in the afternoon. Against Jeong, the best-ranked player in the tie, Malik may well be fighting to ensure India don't end the day two rubbers down.

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