New Zealand took an unbeatable 3-0 lead in their Eastern Zone Davis Cup semi-final match against India in New Delhi on Saturday (21 January).
New Zealand took an unbeatable 3-0 lead in their Eastern Zone Davis Cup semi-final match against India in New Delhi on Saturday (21 January). After winning the opening singles matches on Friday, the New Zealand doubles pair, Brian Fairlie and Chris Lewis, wrapped up the tie when they defeated India's Anand Amritraj and Shashi Mennon. It was a marathon match that ended 2-6, 14-16, 12-10, 6-2, 6-2, after New Zealand had lost the first two sets.
SYNOPSIS: The Indian pair, with Anand Amritraj serving here, knew they had to win to stay in the Davis Cup. But they lost this point in the first set when Amritraj put the ball into the net. Serving 5-2 up, he made no mistake with this backhand return, to give India a reassuring start.
But it wasn't so easy in the second set. Here, with New Zealander Lewis serving, Amritraj takes the point for India by stroking a clear placement winner.
Lewis serves, at set point, trying to salvage the second set. But his partner Fairlie can't pick up this return and India are two sets ahead.
The third set lasted for 22 games, an advantage for the physically-stronger New Zealanders. Although Mennon scores with this backhand, his opponents win the set to stay alive.
They also took the fourth set 6-2 with this lucky break, when a backhand return from Lewis net-corded into the unlucky Indians' court.
At two sets all, play was stopped because of bad light.
The game resumed the next morning to decide the final set. India didn't start too well. Here Mennon loses his service point.
Match Point: New Zealand leading 5-2 and Fairlie serving to Mennon. It is his partner Lewis who makes the final killing shot. He brilliantly intercepts a return to volley the winner. New Zealand have harder tasks ahead. They now have to play Australia-winners of the other semi-final against Japan-in the zone final.