India’s road to the 2018 Davis Cup World Group looked to be blocked yet again when the World Group Play-offs draw revealed that the three-time former finalists were to face Canada in an away tie in Edmonton.
Speculated as it was in April that Milos Raonic would be leading the Canadian team, the former world No 4’s lay-off from the Tour because of a wrist injury and subsequent surgery is fortuitous for the visitors. That being said, the advent of Denis Shapovalov, the trailblazing 18-year-old who turned heads in his corner after exploits at the Montreal Masters and the US Open looks to have given the hosts a window of opportunity. However, the balance of the match-up isn’t entirely skewed in favour of the Canadians as much as it was expected to be previously.
Here’s a quick remapping of how the Indian team stands ahead of their tie:
While Shapovalov’s good form has bolstered Canada’s ranks, the Indian campaign has also been fortified by the consistency of their two singles players – Ramkumar Ramanathan and Yuki Bhambri.
Both Ramanathan and Bhambri had a good run in the US Open series, with the former making an appearance in the singles main draw at the Cincinnati Masters and the latter reaching the quarter-finals of the Citi Open in Washington. More importantly, Ramanathan even reached the second round of the US Open qualifiers, before losing a narrow three-setter to Nicolas Mahut.
The takeaway is that India’s two singles players are more than capable of posing a stiff challenge to higher-ranked opponents, even those who’ve risen up the rankings as sharply as Shapovalov.
It also stands to help India that the hosts had to make yet another change to their team nomination in singles. Davis Cup debutant Brayden Schnur has been roped in for the singles rubbers in place of Vasek Pospisil, who is still recovering from the back injury that had forced him to withdraw in the US Open first round.
With Ramanathan taking on Schnur in the first singles rubber, India can count on a positive start to begin their all-important weekend before the awaited clash between Bhambri and Shapovalov.
On the face of it, the Indian line-up looks complete, not just in terms of the players but also in terms of getting the necessary preparatory time. However, the team has made one significant last-minute change to the doubles personnel. Purav Raja will partner Rohan Bopanna, because of injury and fitness concerns to Saketh Myneni and N Sriram Balaji.
Myneni’s exclusion, due to his recovery from injury, is understandable. However, given that Balaji missed out on playing the tie because of a sudden ankle injury, this may be an eventuality that has slightly displaced Mahesh Bhupathi’s well-crafted plans. After all, it was Balaji and Bopanna who had teamed up to help India make it to the World Group Play-offs with a win over Uzbekistan in April.
By no means is this the end of the the road for India for the doubles rubber. However, when compared to the Canadian duo of Daniel Nestor and Pospisil who have played together on several occasions in the past and know each other well, Bopanna and Rajava’s inexperience could prove to be a determining factor.
Opportunities and threats
The obvious and biggest opportunity for India in the tie is that it can re-enter the World Group after seven years. But, herein also lies the team’s biggest threat. For the first time in all their previous attempts of World Group qualification in the last four years, India will have to win an away tie to claim its rightful place in the 16-team draw.
Given that crowd support plays an intrinsic part of Davis Cup ties, the visitors will need to remain unfazed not only by their opponents, but also by the partisan crowd support. More so, since the tie will be played indoors at the Northlands Coliseum which will amplify the ambience further.
To the team’s credit, they have displayed a dogged determination in leaving no stone unturned in wanting to end their World Group drought decisively. The draw may then look promising, but for the players it’s about ensuring that this promise lasts until the final day’s place.
Do you prefer your favourite sports stories delivered straight to your inbox every weekday? We have got you covered. Subscribe to The Field’s newsletter.
Top picks, best deals and all that you need to know for the Amazon Great Indian Festival
We’ve done the hard work so you can get right to what you want amongst the 40,000+ offers across 4 days.
The Great Indian Festival (21st-24th September) by Amazon is back and it’s more tempting than ever. This edition will cater to everyone, with offers on a range of products from electronics, home appliances, apparel for men and women, personal care, toys, pet products, gourmet foods, gardening accessories and more. With such overwhelming choice of products and a dozen types of offers, it’s not the easiest to find the best deals in time to buy before your find gets sold out. You need a strategy to make sure you avail the best deals. Here’s your guide on how to make the most out of the Great Indian Festival:
Make use of the Amazon trio – Amazon Prime, Amazon Pay and Amazon app
Though the festival officially starts on 21st, Amazon Prime members will have early access starting at 12 noon on 20th September itself, enabling them to grab the best deals first. Sign up for an Amazon Prime account to not miss out on exclusive deals and products. Throughout the festival, Prime members will 30-minute early access to top deals before non-Prime members. At Rs 499/- a year, the Prime membership also brings unlimited Amazon Prime video streaming and quick delivery benefits.
Load your Amazon pay wallet; there’s assured 10% cashback (up to Rs 500). Amazon will also offer incremental cashbacks over and above bank cashbacks on select brands as a part of its Amazon Pay Offers. Shopping from the app would bring to you a whole world of benefits not available to non-app shoppers. App-only deals include flat Rs 1,250 off on hotels on shopping for more than Rs 500, and flat Rs 1,000 off on flights on a roundtrip booking of Rs 5,000 booking from Yatra. Ten lucky shoppers can also win one year of free travel worth Rs 1.5 lakhs.
Plan your shopping
The Great Indian Sale has a wide range of products, offers, flash sales and lightning deals. To make sure you don’t miss out on the best deals, or lose your mind, plan first. Make a list of things you really need or have been putting off buying. If you plan to buy electronics or appliances, do your research on the specs and shortlist the models or features you prefer. Even better, add them to your wishlist so you’re better able to track your preferred products.
Track the deals
There will be lightning deals and golden hour deals throughout the festival period. Keep track to avail the best of them. Golden-hour deals will be active on the Amazon app from 9.00pm-12.00am, while Prime users will have access to exclusive lightning deals. For example, Prime-only flash sales for Redmi 4 will start at 2.00pm and Redmi 4A at 6.00pm on 20th, while Nokia 6 will be available at Rs 1,000 off. There will be BOGO Offers (Buy One Get One free) and Bundle Offers (helping customers convert their TVs to Smart TVs at a fraction of the cost by using Fire TV Stick). Expect exclusive product launches from brands like Xiaomi (Mi Band 2 HRX 32 GB), HP (HP Sprocket Printer) and other launches from Samsung and Apple. The Half-Price Electronics Store (minimum 50% off) and stores offering minimum Rs 15,000 off will allow deal seekers to discover the top discounts.
Big discounts and top picks
The Great Indian Festival is especially a bonanza for those looking to buy electronics and home appliances. Consumers can enjoy a minimum of 25% off on washing machines, 20% off on refrigerators and 20% off on microwaves, besides deals on other appliances. Expect up to 40% off on TVs, along with No-Cost EMI and up to Rs 20,000 off on exchange.
Our favorite pick on refrigerators is the large-sized Samsung 545 L at 26% off so you can save Rs 22,710.
There are big savings to be made on UV water purifiers as well (up to 35% off), while several 5-star ACs from big brands will be available at greater than 30% discount. Our top pick is the Carrier 1.5 Ton 5-star split AC at 32% off.
There’s good news for Apple fans. The Apple MacBook Air 13.3-inch Laptop 2017 will be available at Rs 55,990, while the iPad will be available at 20% off. Laptops from Lenovo, Dell and HP will be available in the discount range of 20% to 26%. Top deals are LenovoTab3 and Yoga Tab at 41% to 38% off. Apple fans wishing to upgrade to the latest in wearable technology can enjoy Rs 8,000 off on the Apple Watch series 2 smartwatch.
If you’re looking for mobile phones, our top deal pick is the LG V20 at Rs 24,999, more than Rs 5000 off from its pre-sale price.
Home printers are a good investment for frequent flyers and those with kids at home. The discounted prices of home printers at the festival means you will never worry about boarding passes and ID documents again. The HP Deskjet basic printer will be available for Rs 1,579 at 40% off and multi-function (printer/ scanner/ Wi-Fi enabled) printers from HP Deskjet and Canon will also available at 33% off.
The sale is a great time to buy Amazon’s native products. Kindle E-readers and Fire TV Stick will be on sale with offers worth Rs 5,000 and Rs 1,000 respectively.
For those of you who have a bottomless collection of movies, music and photos, there is up to 60% off on hard drives and other storage devices. Our top picks are Rs 15,000 and Rs 12,000 off on Seagate Slim 5TB and 4TB hard drives respectively, available from 8.00am to 4.00pm on 21st September.
Cameras (up to 55% off) and camera accessories such as tripods, flash lights etc. are available at a good discount. Home surveillance cameras too will be cheaper. These include bullet cameras, dome cameras, simulated cameras, spy cameras and trail and game cameras.
For home medical supplies and equipment, keep an eye on the grooming and personal care section. Weighing scales, blood pressure monitors, glucometers, body fat monitors etc. will be available at a cheaper price.
The sale is also a good time to invest in home and kitchen supplies. Mixer-grinders and juicers could see lightning deals. Don’t ignore essentials like floor mops with wheels, rotating mop replacements, utensils, crockery etc. Tupperware sets, for example, will be more affordable. There are attractive discounts on bags, especially laptop bags, backpacks, diaper bags and luggage carriers.
While Amazon is extremely convenient for need-based shopping and daily essentials, it is also full of hidden treasures. During the festival, you can find deals on telescopes, polaroid cameras, smoothie makers, gym equipment, gaming consoles and more. So you’ll be able to allow yourself some indulgences!
If you have children, the festival is good time to stock up on gifts for Diwali, Christmas, return gifts etc. On offer are gaming gadgets such as Xbox, dough sets, Touching Tom Cat, Barbies, classic board games such as Life and more. There are also some products that you don’t really need, but kind of do too, such as smartphone and tablet holders, magnetic car mounts for smartphones and mobile charging station wall stands. If you’re looking for enhanced functionality in daily life, do take a look at the Amazon Basics page. On it you’ll find USB cables, kitchen shears, HDMI cables, notebooks, travel cases and other useful things you don’t realise you need.
Check-out process and payment options
Amazon is also offering an entire ecosystem to make shopping more convenient and hassle-free. For the festival duration, Amazon is offering No-Cost EMIs (zero interest EMIs) on consumer durables, appliances and smartphones, plus exchange schemes and easy installation services in 65 cities. HDFC card holders can avail additional 10% cashback on HDFC credit and debit cards. Customers will also get to “Buy Now and Pay in 2018” with HDFC Credit Cards, as the bank offers a 3 Month EMI Holiday during the days of the sale. Use Amazon Pay balance for fast and easy checkouts, quicker refunds and a secured shopping experience.
Sales are fun and with The Great Indian Festival offering big deals on big brands, it definitely calls for at least window shopping. There’s so much more than the above categories, like minimum 50% off on American Tourister luggage! To start the treasure hunt, click here.
This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Amazon.in and not by the Scroll editorial team.