In a heart-breaking match New Zealand's Rubin Statham has been beaten in opening Davis Cup singles match against South Korea's Seong Chan Hong, 6-4 6-3 4-6 7-6 (6) in a contest which took over four hours to complete and had the Kiwi on the edge of taking the match to a fifth set.
Throughout the match there was no player who dominated, except in the second set where teenager Hong was able to break Statham's serve in the first, third and sixth games, but even then he had his own serve broken twice in the set.
The fourth set had Statham looking like he could serve out the set and when that didn't occur he had multiple set points in the tiebreak. But his highly rated opponent, who has reached the final of four consecutive Futures tournaments this year, was not to be held back and kept forcing the errors or hitting the winners to take the tiebreak eight points to six in a one hour 36 minute set.
It was a record match for Statham as he equalled the most appearances for a Kiwi in Davis Cup history alongside New Zealand tennis legend Onny Parun, who played in 25 Davis Cup ties. However that record will be of little consequence when a win was the more vital factor.
The second singles match of day one features New Zealand's Michael Venus against world No.63 Hyeon Chung.
The doubles team for New Zealand has been listed as Venus and Artem Sitak. Venus has already won three ATP tournaments this year, while Sitak has been within the top 40 rankings with the past six months. The Koreans have named Chung and Hong as their doubles combination.
The reverse singles will be held on Sunday.
The winner of the tie will take on the Asia/Oceania Group One top seeds, India in July.