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Kiwis fall behind in Davis Cup

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 3/02/2017

Finn Tearney © Fiona Goodall/Getty Images) Finn Tearney New Zealand's Davis Cup team face an uphill battle after both Finn Tearney¬†and Rubin Statham went down in straight sets to their Indian opponents.

The Kiwi's faced a sizeable task against India heading into the round one tie against the hosts in Pune, with top-ranked Kiwi Tearney, 414th in the world, going down 4-6 4-6 3-6 to Yuki Bhambri, ranked 368.

New Zealand captain Alistair Hunt described the two-hour-and-14-minute match as a "tough day a the office".

"Finn had a few chances in his match but couldn't capitalise. He was making the difficult ones but missing the easy ones," he said.

Then, in his 26th Davis Cup match, Statham, 417, went down 3-6 4-6 3-6 to India's Ramkumar Ramanathan, 276.

"Ramanathan served unbelievable today and hit a lot of unreturnable serves," Hunt said.

That leaves New Zealand down 0-2 heading into the doubles match on Saturday afternoon (NZT).

The pairing of Michael Venus and Artem Sita will take on 43-year-old Leander Paes - who has eight men's doubles Grand Slams to his name - and 29-year old Vishnu Vardham.

"Leander has the record on the line for winning the most Davis Cup matches for anyone ever, a fantastic record for him, but in saying that our guys want to beat Leander," Hunt said.

"It's going to be a good match and the court can suit our players and we'll be wanting serve big and then take advantage of their serve, but then we'll see what happens."

The 33rd-ranked New Zealanders have had to overcome foreign conditions in Pune, where 19th-ranked India hasn't hosted a tie for more than 43 years.

It is the last tie in charge for the home side's long-serving captain Anand Amritraj and, quite possibly, for Paes.

In the next round in Asia/Oceania Group 1 in April, the Kiwis will either take on Uzbekistan away or Korea at home. They're currently tied at 1-1.

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