Yuki Bhambri, Ramkumar Ramanathan hand India lead over New Zealand in Davis Cup
Pune: Tennis stars Yuki Bhambri and Ramkumar Ramanathan on Friday won both their men's singles matches to give India a crucial 2-0 lead against New Zealand in the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania group 1 tie at the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune.
In the first match, Bhambri, ranked 368, defeated Finn Tearney 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 to put India in the lead.
Bhambri started the match on a positive note by winning the first game with a nice forehand that forced an error from Tearney.
But soon, the 24-year-old failed to maintain his rhythm as at one stage he was trailing 1-3. But just when things seemed to be getting worse, the Indian bounced back in style to win the first set 6-4 in 46 minutes.
The second game witnessed some good court work by Tearney. He immediately broke Bhambri to take a 2-0 crucial lead at the start.
But Bhambri slowed down the pace of the game and started attacking his opponent. He broke his opponent twice to make it 2-2.
After that it was no looking back for the Indian as he comfortably cruised to a 6-4 victory in the second set.
In the third set, Bhambri continued his dominance with some swift court movements and clinched the issue 6-3 to put India ahead of the visitors.
Thereafter, 276th ranked Ramkumar Ramanathan outplayed Jose Statham 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 to double India's lead against the visitors.
The first set was a cake walk for Ramanathan as he overpowered his opponent in every department of the game. Right from the start he dominated Statham. At one point, he was leading the Kiwi player 4-1.
In the second set both players started to put pressure on each other. It was neck and neck till 4-3 but after that Ramkumar pressed the accelerator to take a two game lead and make it 5-3.
He finished the rest of the proceedings comfortably by winning the second set 6-4.
The third set saw a brilliant fightback from Statham but Ramkumar counter attacked and took a crucial lead of two games to make it 4-2.
The fifth and sixth games were lop-sided affairs as Ramkumar easily outplayed Statham to clinch the match.
India's Leander Paes with his partner Vishnu Vardhan will take on Artem Sitak and Micheal Venus in the men's doubles match here on Saturday.