Davis Cup: India take unassailable 3-0 lead against Kiwis
After Yuki Bhambri gave India a 1-0 lead Friday beating Daniel King-Turner in the first rubber, the 25-year-old Vardhan continued the second rubber from Friday, winning 6-2, 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-2, against Jose Statham at the Chandigarh Lawn Tennis Association (CLTA) Stadium here.
He then turned up with Delhi boy Sharan to beat Michael Venus and Daniel King-Turner 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-3 and ensure India's win in the Asia/Oceania Group I first round play-off.
The day started with Vardhan and Statham resuming the second singles stopped Friday due to bad light when the Indian was leading 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-4.
Vardhan only needed a few minutes before he could conclude the match and give India a 2-0 lead.
In the doubles, both pairs served well forcing the set into a tie-break.
The two teams held their serves on the first four points. However, just before changing sides the Indian pair got the mini-break and held serve to go 4-2 up.
Vardhan extended the advantage with a brilliant serve down the middle for 5-2.
In no time, the hosts had three set points at 6-3 and only needed the first one when Sharan nudged a volley past the net landing beyond the reach of the Kiwis.
In the second set, India had a break point in the second game which New Zealand saved though a forehand winner from the 24-year-old Venus to equalise the scoreline at 1-1.
Immediately after the new balls were brought in the fourth game of the match, King-Turner committed two double faults but did well to hold the serve.
India earned two more break points in the sixth game. Sharan gave away the first as his backhand return went into the net.
However, the Kiwis were not that lucky as a brilliant cross-court volley from Sharan at the net helped India to break for the first time in the match and go 4-2 up.
A poor line judgement call by Sharan, ranked 94 in doubles, gave the visitors a break point which they converted when Venus hit an irretrievable smash.
The New Zealand duo, now leading 5-4, broke in the last game to level the match.
India broke in the fourth game of the third set to go 3-1 up. Four flawless serves by Vardhan took India to 4-1. India did not look back from there and sealed the set 6-3.
The penultimate set saw some long rallies with neither team taking too many chances. The Kiwis though managed to break in the fourth game for a 3-1 lead.
Trailing 2-4, India played remarkable net game, especially Sharan aided the team with quick reflexes and broke back to win the game (3-4).
Eventually, the set went into the tie-breaker.
In a neck-and-neck contest tied at 4-4, the Kiwis took consecutive points to take the set and force the match into the decider.
India, up 3-2, crucially broke the Daniel-Turner serve to go ahead 4-2.
Another brilliant service game by Vardhan saw them go ahead by 5-2.
Vardhan-Sharan sealed the match and the play-off to push India into the second round play-off in October where they will take on Chinese Taipei to avoid relegation in Group II.
India's combination proved good as Vardhan, essentially a baseliner, tagged well with Sharan, who played his first Davis Cup match.
Sharan proved his worth in the team with an excellent net game.
In the last two reverse singles ties Sunday, Yuki Bhambri and Sanam Singh will be taking on Statham and King-Turner respectively.
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Date 28-11-13, Duration 4:12, Views 35