Tennis: New Zealand completes clean sweep over Pakistan

By Matt Brown in Christchurch

New Zealand wildcard Finn Tearney during the ASB Classic. Photo / Getty Images
New Zealand wildcard Finn Tearney during the ASB Classic. Photo / Getty Images

Rubin Statham and Finn Tearney have won the reverse singles rubbers in straight sets to complete a dominant Davis Cup weekend for New Zealand tennis in Christchurch.

Having clinched the tie with victory in Saturday's doubles, Sunday's reverse singles matches were reduced to best of three sets at Z Energy Arena,Wilding Park.

Tearney overcame stern resistance in the second set before completing a 6-1,6-3 victory over Mohammad Abid Ali Khan Akbar to cap a fantastic Davis Cup debut on home soil for the 25 year old Wellingtonian.

Tearney will next head across the Tasman for an ITF Futures tournament in Alice Springs this week before playing an ATP Challenger event in Brisbane.

Rubin Statham recovered from a sluggish start to beat Pakistan number two Samir Iftikhar 6-4, 6-1 in the final singles rubber.

Iftikhar rolled his ankle in the opening game and fell again in the third game, but took it to Statham in a tight first set. Statham had to twice rally from breaks down before closing out the set.

New Zealand's most capped Davis Cup player then ran away with the match in the second set.

Having retained its place in Asia/Oceania Group One of Davis Cup for 2017, New Zealand now await next Friday's draw to see who it will face in February's first round.

South Korea, India, and China are confirmed in Group one while Uzbekistan could join the group if it loses this weekend's World Group qualifying tie against Switzerland in Tashkent. (Switzerland lead 2-1) The winner of the Thailand v Chinese Taipei tie in Group two will also be promoted to Group one. (Thailand lead 2-1)

Team captain Alistair Hunt felt his team is now strong enough to get to a first World Group qualifying tie in 18 years next September.

"We've got another four or five months to improve and the key is for the singles guys to really step up. We are right on the cusp, we had chances against Korea this year and it was one or two points"

"The good thing going in with guys who will be the underdog in singles is they can swing away a bit. I think it will be close, we will need a little bit of luck and a court that suits us.

Hunt says getting a World Group qualifying tie would be huge for tennis in NZ.

"It would be huge, imagine getting the likes of the US or Australia over, it doesn't really matter, they've all got top 20 or a top 50 players and you get a couple of those over here and next minute your stands are full and it becomes a lot more interesting for people. That was our goal this year, it wasn't to be and we have to be happy that we give ourselves another shot next year." Hunt said.

New Zealand's doubles pairing of Michael Venus and Marcus Daniell leave for Europe tonight for this week's ATP tournament in Metz.

Daniell ranked 56 will team up with Brazilian Marcelo Demoliner while 41st ranked Venus will link up with regular partner Mate Pavic. Venus and the Croatian have won four ATP World Tour titles together in 2016.

Daniell and Demoliner have received a tough draw, playing top seeds Julian Benneteau and Eduard Roger-Vassselin in the first round.

Venus and Pavic are third seeds and meet Mexican Santiago Gonzalez and Spaniard David Marrero.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 10 Dec 2016 02:06:39 Processing Time: 722ms