By: Eastern Eye Staff
New Zealand’s Artem Sitak and Michael Venus beat India’s Leander Paes and Vishnu Vardhan on Saturday in the Davis Cup doubles rubber in Pune, with the host’s still leading the Asia/Oceania Group I tie 2-1.
The 3-1 loss in the match against the visitors denied Paes a chance to set a record of winning the maximum matches in the tournament as he stands level with Nicloa Pietrageli of Italy with 42 match victories.
Paes, 43, was playing his 55th doubles match since making his debut in the Davis Cup in 1990.
The Indian pair lost 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(6), 6-3 after starting off strongly in the first set without losing a serve.
But Sitak, ranked 56, and Venus, ranked 36, fought back to level the scores in the next round.
The Kiwis rode the momentum in the third set and won it in a tie-breaker 7-6(6).
Paes, ranked 64 and Vardhan, ranked 338, were humbled in the fouth set 6-3.
On Friday India won both their singles matches against the visitors in straight sets, taking a 2-0 lead in the rubber.
In the first match Yuki Bhambri beat Finn Tearney which was followed by another comprehensive victory by Ramkumar Ramanathan against Jose Statham.
India have not lost to New Zealand in the Davis Cup since 1978 when the visitors beat them 4-1 in Delhi during the Eastern Zone semi-final.
Bhambri is slated to play Statham, and Ramanathan will take on Tearney in the two reverse matches on Monday.
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