By: Eastern Eye Staff
Ramkumar Ramanathan and Yuki Bhambri scored back-to-back wins over New Zealand on Sunday (5) to give India a 4-1 victory on the final day of the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group I tie in Pune.
New Zealand’s Finn Tearney and Jose Statham both lost their reverse singles matches, with Ramanathan beating Tearney in the fourth match 7-5, 6-1, 6-0 followed by Bhambri’s 7-5, 3-6, 6-4 win over Statham in the dead rubber.
Ramanathan, ranked 276, faced tough moments in the opening set that clocked in at nearly 51-minutes but prevailed over his opponent to win 7-5 at Pune’s Balewadi Sports Complex before taking the next two sets in a 6-1, 6-0 rout.
India lost the doubles rubber on Saturday after New Zealand’s Artem Sitak and Michael Venus overpowered Leander Paes and Vishnu Vardhan to settle the score at 2-1.
But the Indian singles players rose to the occasion on the final day of the tournament after beating the visitors in the opening matches on Friday 2-0.
In the fifth match Bhambri, ranked 368, won four-straight games against Statham in the first set to clinch the round 7-5.
But the Kiwi, ranked 417, made a stirring comeback in the second to level the score.
In the decider the 24-year-old Indian proved too strong, winning the final set 6-3.
India have not lost to New Zealand in the Davis Cup since 1978 when the visitors beat them 4-1 in Delhi.
The victory sets up a showdown with Uzbekistan in April after the Uzbeks eased past South Korea 3-1 in their first round tie played in Gimcheon, Korea Sunday.[TheChamp-Sharing]