India up 2-1 after doubles victory in Davis Cup

March 7th, 2009 - 8:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Kaohsiung (Chinese Taipei,March 7(IANS) Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi battled out a furious four-setter against Yang Tsung-hua and Yi Chu-huan to give India a critical 2-1 lead over Chinese Taipei on second day of their Asia-Oceania Group- I Davis Cup tie here Saturday.
It took the experienced India pair three and a half hours to dispatch the young Taipei pair 6-4, 7-6(0), 6-7(2), 6-2, in what was their 22nd consecutive win in Davis Cup.

The doubles always becomes crucial when the opening day’s singles are split as is the case here.

With their nose ahead, India need to win one of the remaining two singles Sunday. It might boil down to the last rubber if Chinese top player Lu Yen-hsun plays to his potential and world ranking of 59 against India’s top player Somdev Devvarman. Rohan Bopanna takes on Ti Chen, but there has been at least one instance when Leander Paes played the decider.

The Indians were expected to win the doubles and the world class pair did not disappoint. But the manner in which they won clearly made them look a scratch combination as they only play together when they represent India. Even if the chemistry was not the same as it used to be when they played together on the circuit, their experience was good enough for the left-right Yi-Yang combination.

Yi with his big serve and sharp game was impressive while Yang struggled with his serve.

The Indians targeted Yang’s serve and straightaway broke him in the very first game of the match. Bhupathi had problems with his serve in the sixth game but he managed to hold it for a 4-2 lead. The Indians came close to wrapping up the set in the ninth game but squandered two set points. Bhupathi then served out the set.

The second set saw both the Indians unable to hung on to a service break when Bhupathi dropped his serve. The set went into a tie-break and Paes and Bhupathi stamped their class, blanking their opponents.

With two sets up, the Indian pair seemed on well on course for a straight sets victory, but that was not to be.

In a remarkable turn around, Yang and Yi played with power and aggression to break the service of both Paes and Bhupathi to jump to a 5-2 lead with Yi to serve for the set. Here, the Indians in a stupendous effort, rallied to break the Taipei pair not once but twice, reeling off four games to go 6-5 up. But they could not effect another break to win in straight sets. In the tie-break, Yi and Yang were clearly superior with some stunning returns of serve and quick finish, conceding only two points.

Stung by the reverse, the Indians struck back in the fourth set, hardly giving an chance for the Taipei pair to force the issue into the fifth set.

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