The New Zealand Davis Cup tennis team has not had the start team captain Alistair Hunt would have liked as they faced a fired up local team in Pune, India overnight in the Asia/Oceania Group 1 round one tie. .
In the opening singles matches both Finn Tearney and Rubin Statham were beaten in straight sets by their Indian opponents leaving New Zealand 0-2 down going into the vital doubles match on Saturday which starts at 5pm local time (1am NZ time).
Tearney ranked 414 faced Yuki Bhambri who currently is around 50 places better off in the world but has been as high as No.88. Tearney was beaten 4-6 4-6 3-6 but had his chances in the match and Hunt says had the opportunities but was unable to take them.
"It was a tough day a the office today. Finn had a few chances in his match but couldnt capitalize. He was making the difficult ones but missing the easy ones. He had a break up in the first and second sets but couldnt take advantage on it. Thats just the way it is really. He probably didnt play his best, but hell learn and will come back stronger."
The second singles had Rubin Statham against 278th Ramkumar Ramanathan who used the support of the home crowd to play some top tennis and to win 3-6 4-6 3-6.
"Ramanathan served unbelievable today and hit a lot of unreturnable serves. Rubin just couldnt get a lead in the match and couldnt get on top all day really. Hopefullyy hell learn a lot from that and be able to come up with something on Sunday," said Hunt.
The doubles in Davis Cup has been a bonus for New Zealand of late and with Michael Venus and Artem Sitak pairing together there is another strong combination. However India have Leander Paes, who despite his age, 43 also has eight Grand Slam titles to his credit and experience playing for his country. Paes is set to combine with the relatively inexperienced Vishnu Vardham.
"Leander has the record on the line for winning the most Davis Cup matches for anyone ever, a fantastic record for him, but in saying that our guys want to beat Leander its going to be a good match and the court can suit our players and well be wanting serve big and then take advantage of their serve, but then well see what happens tomorrow. Ive got full confidence with my guys in the doubles and then one match at a time from there," said Hunt.
New Zealand will play either Uzbekistan away or Korea at home in the next round of Davis Cup in April.
- This story has been automatically published using a media release from New Zealand Tennis