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India beat New Zealand 4-1 in Davis Cup

AFP logoAFP 06-02-2017
India's Ramkumar Ramanathan returns a shot during the Davis Cup singles tennis match against New Zealand's Finn Tearney at the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune on February 5, 2017 © Provided by AFP India's Ramkumar Ramanathan returns a shot during the Davis Cup singles tennis match against New Zealand's Finn Tearney at the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune on February 5, 2017

Ramkumar Ramanathan and Yuki Bhambri scored back-to-back wins over New Zealand Sunday to give India a 4-1 victory on the final day of the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group I tie in Pune.

New Zealand's Finn Tearney and Jose Statham both lost their reverse singles matches, with Ramanathan beating Tearney in the fourth match 7-5, 6-1, 6-0 followed by Bhambri's 7-5, 3-6, 6-4 win over Statham in the dead rubber.

Ramanathan, ranked 276, faced tough moments in the opening set that clocked in at nearly 51-minutes but prevailed over his opponent to win 7-5 at Pune's Balewadi Sports Complex before taking the next two sets in a 6-1, 6-0 rout.

India lost the doubles rubber on Saturday after New Zealand’s Artem Sitak and Michael Venus overpowered Leander Paes and Vishnu Vardhan to settle the score at 2-1.

But the Indian singles players rose to the occasion on the final day of the tournament after beating the visitors in the opening matches on Friday 2-0.

In the fifth match Bhambri, ranked 368, won four-straight games against Statham in the first set to clinch the round 7-5.

But the Kiwi, ranked 417, made a stirring comeback in the second to level the score.

In the decider the 24-year-old Indian proved too strong, winning the final set 6-3.

India have not lost to New Zealand in the Davis Cup since 1978 when the visitors beat them 4-1 in Delhi.

The victory sets up a showdown with Uzbekistan in April after the Uzbeks eased past South Korea 3-1 in their first round tie played in Gimcheon, Korea Sunday.

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