Kiwi rookie Rhett Purcell has fought back from a set and 3-0 down to win the second singles rubber and put New Zealand in control after day one of the Asia Oceania Group 2 Davis Cup tie against Indonesia in Jakarta. The 23-year-old has beaten Indonesian number one David Agung Susanto 3-6, 6-4 6-0 to put New Zealand 2-0 up after Ajeet Rai had earlier got the Kiwis off to the perfect start.
Rai defeated Indonesian number two M Rifki Fitriadi 7-6 (7) 6-3 to put New Zealand one rubber up. Purcell who had beaten Susanto in straight sets in their only previous meeting in 2017, struggled for a set and a half in the second rubber. He was broken early and dropped serve again as Susanto took the opening set 6-3.
Purcell then dropped his opening service game in the second set and quickly trailed 3-love. However, he dug deep and showed some real resilience to fight his way back into the set and broke Susanto for the first time in the 7th game to get back on serve at 3-4. After holding serve Purcell broke again and then served out the set to force a decider.
Having won four straight games, the Kiwi was on a roll and he maintained the momentum in the third set and in the end cruised to the victory, a fantastic result on debut.
In the first match, Rai saved four set points in the first set tie break at 2-6 before coming back to win it 9-7. It proved critical as he gained the ascendency early in the second set and went on to complete a comfortable win in the end.
The results set up an opportunity for world class Kiwi doubles players Michael Venus and Marcus Daniell to clinch the tie. They will go in as hot favourites Ari Fahresi and Anthony Susanto. A doubles win for New Zealand would see the reverse singles rubbers between Rai and Susanto and Purcell and Fitriadi become dead rubbers.