India won the last two dead rubbers against New Zealand here on Sunday to win the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group I first round play-off 5-0.
Yuki Bhambri and Sanam Singh won their respective reverse singles after India had already avoided relegation into Group II on Saturday by taking an unassailable 3-0 lead.
Delhi’s Bhambri, who had won the first match against Daniel King-Turner on Friday, was taken the distance by World No.317 Jose Statham in the fourth match of the contest which the Indian won 2-6, 7-5, 7-6(5).
Local lad Sanam Singh, who replaced Vishnu Vardhan for the final match of the tie, ousted Artem Sitak in straight sets in the final dead rubber. Sanam drubbed the Kiwi 6-4, 6-1.
Sitak, too, was a replacement – for King-Turner who was supposed to play the match.
Bhambri did not start well in the morning giving away two break points to Statham in the first set. The second set was a close encounter which the Indian clinched by converting a crucial break point.
The third set was pushed into the tie-breaker. Both players held their serves but Bhambri got the mini-break when the scores were level at 5-5. He won the next point on his serve to win the set and match.
Sanam Singh, however, had an easy outing against World No.605 Sitak, winning his first Davis Cup match in two outings.
Sanam exploited the Kiwi’s backhand by hitting inward-out forehands. The 24-year-old had to save a third break point to come back and win the first set 6-4 but Sitak proved no match for his much higher ranked opponent in the second set.
Sanam went from strength-to-strength, breaking thrice and holding all his serves to take the set 6-1 and the match.IANS