India swept through for a 5-0 victory over New Zealand in the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania group ‘I’ relegation play-off tennis tie at the CLTA Stadium here on Sunday.
While Yuki Bhambri laboured to a 2-6, 7-5, 7-6(5) victory over Jose Statham, Sanam Singh outplayed Artem Sitak 6-4, 6-1.
The 24-year-old Sanam said that he was happy to help India finish on a high note and gave credit to the team for a strong performance in difficult conditions.
He did drop serve with a double fault on breakpoint in the sixth game of the first set, but the 367th ranked Sanam played so well that he gave very little room for the 790th ranked Sitak to make an impact.
“Motivation was not a problem. Once I won that first set, I just ran through the second,” said Sanam.
The 20-year-old Yuki was unable to goad himself to give his best. In fact, the Kiwi No. 1 was running away with the match after taking the first set 6-2.
Inside out winner
Statham, however, dropped the second in the 12th game, after having survived four set points from 0-40. The 179th ranked Yuki took the set, hitting a forehand inside out winner.
In the decider, the 298th ranked Statham led 4-2 after breaking Yuki in the fifth, but dropped serve in the eighth by putting a backhand wide on the fifth breakpoint. Yuki missed a matchpoint on Statham’s serve in the 12th game, but smacked a return winner to set up the second matchpoint in the tie-break.
He stroked another winner for his second win in two hours and 41 minutes. For his five-set victory on the first day Yuki had spent three hours and 15 minutes on court.
“I managed to pull through. I wanted to perform better after the first day. I played well enough to get the job done,” said Yuki, as he hinted that a lot of factors had conspired in bringing the quality of his game down.
He said that the serve was not there and the feet were not moving. The game picked up by the second set and Yuki carried through.
“Well, there is no fun without drama in Davis Cup,” Yuki said and was happy to see the ‘outstanding performance’ of Sanam.
Captain S.P. Misra said that all the players performed well, and assured that there was no doubt that the players would play better depending on the quality of the opposition in the next tie, possibly in February.
Assessing the performance of Yuki, the captain said that he was slightly inconsistent and played very well in patches, but stressed that age and physical build were on his side, and that the young lad was sure to develop into a much superior player in the years to come.
It was not exactly a Sunday crowd, roaring and enjoying the fare, but as Sanam put it nicely, ‘‘whoever showed up, supported great.”
The results: India beat New Zealand 5-0 (Yuki Bhambri bt Daniel King-Turner 3-6, 0-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2; Vishnu Vardhan bt Jose Statham 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-2; Vishnu Vardhan and Divij Sharan bt Daniel King-Turner and Michael Venus 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-3); Yuki Bhambri bt Jose Statham 2-6, 7-5, 7-6(5); Sanam Singh bt Artem Sitak 6-4, 6-1).