Chandigarh – Chandigarh, Sep 14 (IANS) Yuki Bhambri came back from the brink of defeat to give India a 1-0 lead against New Zealand while Vishnu Vardhan was up two sets to one when play was suspended due to bad light on the opening day of their Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group I fixture Friday.
Bhambri won 3-6, 0-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 against Daniel King-Turner at the Chandigarh Lawn Tennis Association (CLTA) Stadium after rain delayed the start of the first singles match by 90 minutes.
Bhambri lost the first two sets easily but turned the tables on his much lower-ranked opponent in the the latter half of the match.
The 20-year-old Delhi boy, after drawing a blank in the second set, broke the Kiwi twice in the third set to show glimpses of a comeback.
Bhambri broke the Kiwi player in the first game of the fourth set to gain an advantage which helped him equalise the match at 2-2.
In the decider, India got a break early and were 4-2 up when Bhambri broke his more experienced opponent again.
While serving for victory, the Delhi boy finished off the match with a volley. This was Bhambri’s third win out of four Davis Cup appearances.
Later in the day, the 25-year-old Vishnu Vardhan was leading 2-1 and was about to serve in the fourth set when Jose Statham, ranked 317 in the world, refused to continue the match, citing bad light as the cause.
Vardhan, in only his second Davis Cup appearance, was ahead 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-4 at the end of the day’s play.
Vardhan, ranked 262, took off in brilliant fashion with a strong service game. His return of serves against the Kiwi No.1 earned him his first break point at 3-2 up which he converted.
A good service game and another break of serve won the Indian his first ever set in a Davis Cup tie.
The second set was evenly contested where neither player made many errors.
With the score at 3-2 favouring Vardhan, he had a chance to break serve with three points at his disposal. However, he wasted all three opportunities and the New Zealander equalised for 3-3.
Both Vardhan and Statham held their serves, forcing the set into a tie-breaker.
Surprisingly, both players got mini-breaks in the tie-breaker till sides were changed at 3-3.
Vardhan won the next two points to go 5-3 up and looked like he would clinch the set.
However, a couple of brilliant serve and volleys helped the visitor equalise and then take the tie-breaker 7-5.
The Indian could take some positives from the second set as he did not lose even a single point in the three games he served and won them all from 40-0.
In the third set, Vardhan had the advantage again as he immediately broke the Kiwi and won on his service to go 2-0 up.
Statham retorted with an equal reply to make it 2-2.
Vardhan was 5-4 up when Statham was serving to stay in the set. However, pressure got the better of Statham and was down 15-40 in the last game of the set.
Vardhan converted the first break point and sealed the set.
The match is to be continued on Saturday before the doubles tie between Divij Sharan/Vishnu Vardhan and Artem Sitak/Michael Venus.
Non-playing captain Shiv Prakash Mishra said if the match goes into the fifth set then Sanam Singh will play in stead of Vardhan in the reverse singles against Daniel King-Turner.