It was arguably New Zealand's latest finish on day one of a Davis Cup tie.

A three hour rain delay and two five set matches meant New Zealand and China finished the first day of their Asia/Oceania Group 1 clash in Auckland at 1.45am.

Scores are level at 1-1 after Rubin Statham dropped his match in five sets while Michael Venus won his contest in five sets.

Kiwi No 1 Statham was defeated by Chinese No 2 Di Wu in five sets in a match which took 3 hours 30 minutes and ended with a scoreline of 2-6 7-6(5) 7-6(0) 2-6 6-3 to the visiting player.

The match was initially scheduled to start at just after 3pm, but drizzle kept players from the court and even had them warm up a couple of times before being forced from the court again. Play commenced just after 6pm and a battle of long rallies ensued.

Veteran New Zealand representative Statham put everything on the line, but a couple of errors at vital moments and a very able opponent had the victory going to the higher ranked Wu.

The second match featuring New Zealand No 2 Michael Venus against Chinese No 1 Ze Zhang eventually hit the court at 10.10pm.

With both players hitting the ball with huge power there was little time for niceties as Venus raced through the first two sets 6-1 and 6-4. However, Zhang was not to be outdone, coming back 6-3 in the third set and in the fourth winning a tiebreak to force the fifth set.

The fifth set had both players holding serve and Zhang looking the more tired of the two, but still too strong on his serve until Venus managed the vital break in the 15th game to go 8-7 ahead and then hold his own serve to eventually take the match.

"Both Rubin and Mike gave it everything out there," said Bew Zealand team captain Alistair Hunt.

"Both played great games and showed tremendous spirit and determination to fight for every point. For Mike to seal that victory over a quality opponent was a top win.

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"We've now got the doubles coming up today and that's going to be another tough contest as well."

The doubles featuring Artem Sitak and Marcus Daniell for New Zealand is set to start at 3pm Saturday and the reverse singles on Sunday from 11am.

Results:
Rubin Statham (NZL) lost to Di Wu (China) 2-6 7-6(5) 7-6(0) 2-6 6-3
Michael Venus (NZL) beat Ze Zhang (China) 6-1 6-4 3-7 6-7(3) 9-7