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Ramkumar, Yuki give India 2-0 lead in Davis Cup

Ramkumar Ramanathan and Yuki Bhambri won their singles matches on the first day to give india a 2-0 lead against New Zealand in the Asia/Oceania Group I round tie on February 4.

Ramkumar, Yuki give India 2-0 lead in Davis Cup
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India?s Yuki Bhambri in action in the Davis Cup tie against New Zealand

Pune

Yuki Bhambri defeated Finn Tearney in the first singles to hand India a 1-0 lead and then Ramkumar blanked Jose Statham 6-3,6-4, 6-3 in the second. Ramkumar won the first set after leading 4-1 before Statham staged a brief rally. 

The Kiwi did better in the second set leading 2-1 after the third game and 3-2 after the fifth. Ram stopped the Kiwi charge and wrapped up the set. Statham led 2-1 in the third set but Ramkumar broke the Kiwi in the fifth game to go 3-2 up and hold his serve for a 4-2 lead. 

The 24-year-old Yuki, ranked 368, trailed in the first two sets but made amends to take a 6-4 6-4 6-3 win in two hours and 10 minutes against his 26-year-old rival from Wellington who is ranked 414. Bhambri won the first set in 47 minutes after trailing 1-3 and then won four games in a row to lead 5-3, the decisive break coming in the seventh game. 

Although Tearney held serve to stay in the set, the Indian served out the 10th game at with a forehand winner to pocket the opening set. Bhambri was down 0-2 in the second set but recovered quickly to take a 2-0 lead before dominating the third set and winning it with one break of serve -- fifth game -- as his rival’s game went to pieces on the hard court at the Shiv Chatrapati sports complex in Balewadi. 

The Indian started brilliantly with a service break but then dropped serve twice, after lapsing into errors, to lag behind Tearney and then got control of his play, albeit he committed mistakes at times. The Kiwi was more error-prone and frittered away the early advantage with some loose play. Bhambri took full advantage with some excellent, deep ground shots with his strong suit, the forehand. 

Later in the set he started serving well and also hit some excellent returns of serve to put pressure on his rival. Tearney lapsed into errors and was quickly down 15-40 on his serve in the seventh game and was broken when he hit a forehand beyond the baseline to help Bhambri take the lead at 4-3. 

Bhambri, not to lose the advantage, put pressure on his rival’s serve immediately and had a match-point when the New Zealander mishit a forehand. And he came up with another excellent return of serve followed by a forehand down-the-line winner to clinch the match.

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