Losing first set proved fatal, says Takeuchi

April 12th, 2008 - 9:30 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 12 (IANS) Japan’s Davis Cup non-playing captain Eiji Takeuchi feels that had Takao Suzuki and Satoshi Iwabuchi won the first set against the champion Indian pair of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi Saturday, the course of the doubles could have been different. The Japanese were a dejected lot as Suzuki-Iwabuchi failed to snap the lone chance of keeping their challenge alive in the second round of the Asian Oceania Group 1 tie.

“We unfortunately lost the first set. After that everything went India’s way. Also we should have won the third set,” a disappointed Takeuchi said at the post-match press conference here.

“We have never won in India and we wanted to win this one. We couldn’t and that really hurts. We should have played better in the tie-break in the first set,” he said.

With the win the hosts have taken a 3-0 lead in the tie and will now play the World Group play-off after three years.

The Indians last played in the World Group play-off in 2005 when they lost 1-3 against Sweden though their last appearance in the World Group main draw was way back in 1998.

Suzuki and Iwabuchi rattled the experienced Indian pair by forcing them to a tie-break in the first set and then gave them mid-match jitters as they won the third set. But they could not carry further and their game fell off. They lost 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 45 minutes.

Takeuchi conceded that though his team was disappointed, they would go on to give their best in the remaining two singles Sunday, even as the rubber is dead now.

“Our players are disappointed. I expected a 1-2 or 2-1 result by the end of day two and then winning the tie 3-2 on the third day. But that couldn’t happen. But we will fight tomorrow,” he said.

The Japanese captain was full of praise for the Indian pair whose mere presence on the court, he felt, could unnerve the opponents.

“Leander and Mahesh pressurise the opponents. They play so well and attack so much. And then Leander always plays his tricky volleys here and there. They were really good today,” he said.

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