April 10, 2006

Davis Cup - India

Shameful that India was relegated to Zone 1 and having to play lowly (tennis-wise) Pakistan after being eliminated from higher rounds after some disastrous (Japan 3-2) performancesdismal outing at the 2006 Commonwealth games in Melbourne last month ...where India performed really well this time, finishing 4th in the medals tally behind UK, Australia, and Canada. (Korea 4-1) since last year... (Incidentally, Pakistan had a Surprisingly - no tennis at the Commonwealth games!)

Back to Davis Cup Tennis:

Even against Pakistan, while playing at home (CCI grounds in Mumbai), India had to fall back on Paes to play the last match instead of Bopanna to ensure that India squeezed through to win the series 3-2 and save the country some real bad blushes... phew! If Prakash Amritaj & Bopanna are the #1 and #2 players in the country today...then the future of Indian mens tennis doesnt look too bright!

Paes takes India to win
Resting on inspirational work done by captain Leander Paes, India retained its place in the Davis Cup Asia Oceania Zone Group I after overcoming the gritty challenge of archrivals Pakistan by a 3-2 margin in the play-off tie held at the Cricket Club of India on Sunday. Suffering from severe cramps, sustained at the start of the third set, Paes showed great fortitude and gumption in ignoring that blow and scripting a memorable 6-4, 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 0-6, 6-1 win over Pakistan’s number two player Aqeel Khan in the second reverse singles match, that lasted three hours forty minutes.

Going into the final day, with the score reading 2-1 in favour of India, this pulsating tie was forced into the decider after Aisam Qureshi, Pakistan’s number one player got the better of Prakash Amritraj by the scoreline of 6-2, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in the morning session to put things on even terms.

World-beating doubles pair of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi edged out Jalil Khan and Asim Shafik for a straight-set victory to put India 2-1 ahead in their Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Zone Group I play off tie against Pakistan here on Saturday.

Paes and Bhupathi gave the rivals a sound thrashing, winning the second day’s doubles rubber 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 in an hour and 40 minutes. The “Indian Express”, winners of multiple Grand Slam titles, broke their rivals’ serve twice in the opening set, in the third and fifth games, to clinch it in 28 minutes.
Day 1:
Prakash Amritraj came back splendidly to turn the tables on Pakistan's Aqeel Khan in three sets and help India end the opening day of the Asia-Oceania Zone One Davis Cup play-off tie on level terms at Mumbai on Tuesday. Earlier compatriot Rohan Bopanna went down tamely to Aisam Quereshi in the first singles. (Korea 4-1) since last year...
India's No. 1 player Amritraj displayed excellent fighting spirit to come back from 1-4 down in the first two sets against the baseline-hugging Pakistan No. 2 Khan before raising his game up a notch in the third to record a 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-1), 6-4 victory 2 hours and 50 minutes. Earlier, a pumped up Pakistan No. 1 Qureshi outclassed Indian No 2 Bopanna, who dished out an insipid and error-prone display, in straight sets to give the visitors a flying start in the sixth-ever clash between the arch-rivals.Qureshi, ranked number 416 in the world, subdued his doubles partner and friend on the Tour Bopanna, ranked 235, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, 6-4 in two minutes under two hours in the opening singles.


India's No 2 singles player Rohan Bopanna will take on Pakistan No 1 Aisam Quereshi in the opening match of the Asia Oceania Group I Davis Cup tie on Friday. In the second singles match of the day, India's No 1 player Prakash Amritraj will lock horns against Pakistani No 2 Aqeel Khan. The strong Indian duo of captain Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi will take on Pakistani pair of Asim Shafik and Jalil Khan in the doubles match of the tie on Saturday. In the reverse singles matches to be played on Sunday, 230-seeded Prakash will meet 416-seeded Quereshi while 235-seeded Bopanna will face Aqeel. (PTI)
Aisam Quereshi, at 416 Pakistan's highest ranked player in the tie, Aqeel Khan, Asim Shafik and Jalil Khan form the playing quartet which takes on India in Cup tie after 33 years. The last clash between the sub-continent rivals occurred in 1973 in neutral Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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