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Ramkumar pilots India past New Zealand

By The Assam Tribune

PUNE, Feb 5: Ramkumar Ramanathan routed Finn Tearney with clinical precision as India took an unassailable 3-1 lead over New Zealand in the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group I first round tie here today.

A lanky Ramkumar cruised to a 7-5, 6-1, 6-0 win over the Kiwi opponent in exactly two hours in windy conditions at the Shiv Chatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi.

Ramkumar, who had won his singles rubber on day one against Jose Statham in straight sets in very impressive fashion, clinched a closely fought 51-minute first set.

Tearney�s game went to pieces thereafter as his rival seized on the opportunities and ran away with the second and third sets with two and three breaks of serve each to propel India into the second round for a meeting with Uzbekistan from April 7-9.

Uzbekistan got past South Korea in another first round away tie.

India had taken a 2-0 lead on the first day when Yuki Bhambri and Ramkumar clinched their singles rubbers against Tearney and Statham respectively.

New Zealand clinched the doubles rubber yesterday when Artem Sitak and Michael Venus got the better of Indian veteran Leander Paes and Vishnu Vardhan.

Ramkumar�s victory in the first reverse singles to provide the hosts with an unassailable lead has rendered fifth rubber between Bhambri and Statham inconsequential.

The 22-year-old Chennai-born 276-ranked Ramkumar fired 12 aces but also committed nine double faults as compared to Tearney�s 16.

The Kiwi player committed a staggering 10 double faults in the opening set, including three in the 12th game in which he was decisively broken by his Indian opponent.

The 6-foot-2-inch tall Indian youngster also had to dig himself out of the hole in two service games in which he faced break points. He saved three in the fifth game in which he committed the first of his two double-faults with the help of his strong first serve clocked at over 200 kmph. � PTI

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