New Delhi: A vastly improved Ranjeet Virali Murugesan went down fighting in the third reverse singles to a higher ranked Suk-Young Jeong as South Korea took an unassailable 3-1 lead against India on the final day of the Group I Asia/Oceania first round Davis Cup tie Sunday.
Having suffered a humiliating defeat in the first singles Friday, Ranjeet, ranked 511, punched above his weight against the 321-ranked Jeong but still lost 4-6, 4-6, 2-6 in two hours and 23 minutes.
Inspired by Leander Paes and Purav Raja's doubles win Saturday, Ranjeet was charged up right from the start. But lack of maturity and experience at the top level made the difference.
Ranjeet, hammered 1-6, 0-6, 1-6 in the first singles by an unranked Min Hyeok Cho, raised his game by several notches and was impressive with his serve and volley.
But he erred when he tried to put too much power behind his shots making unforced errors.
It was a different Ranjeet on Sunday, and he seemed determined not to be tamed easily. Jeong played a waiting game from the baseline and waited for the Indian to commit mistakes.
Cheered by a sizeable Sunday crowd, Ranjeet surprisingly took a 1-0 lead in the first set against the Korean No.1. But Jeong was quick to draw parity at 2-2.
Ranjeet was not willing to let it go without a fight. The Indian made a great comeback in the fifth game, of his own serve, and saved two game points to take a 3-2 lead.
But the Indian committed too many errors and failed to finish off points that allowed the Korean to come back from 3-4 to pocket the first set 6-4.
The second set also continued in the same breadth as Ranjeet came back from two breaks down to make it 3-3 but failed to capitalize on it.
In the third set, Jeong was unstoppable as Ranjeet soon ran out of steam but went down respectably.
Vijayant Malik, who conceded the second singles against Jeong with cramps, will take on Cho in the inconsequential second singles.