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India lead New Zealand 2-0 in Davis Cup

AFP logoAFP 3/02/2017
Ramkumar Ramanathan serves during India's Davis Cup match against New Zealand's Jose Statham in Pune on February 3, 2017 © Provided by AFP Ramkumar Ramanathan serves during India's Davis Cup match against New Zealand's Jose Statham in Pune on February 3, 2017

Yuki Bhambri and Ramkumar Ramanathan on Friday notched up straight-sets victories to give India a commanding 2-0 lead over New Zealand in the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group I tie in Pune.

The left-handed Bhambri eased past Finn Tearney 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 in the opener while Ramanathan outplayed Jose Statham 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 in the second singles match.

The 414-ranked Tearney proved little match to Bhambri, ranked 368, whose aggressive net play combined with excellent returns gave the hosts a great start at Pune's Balewadi Sports Complex.

Bhambri, 24, trailed the first set 1-3 before winning four straight games against a faltering Tearney on the hard court surface.

Bhambri was down 0-2 in the second set but he once again made a quick recovery to overturn the lead and there was no looking back for the home favourite.

The 276-ranked Ramanathan then took to the court against Statham, who holds a singles rank of 417, to keep up India's dominance in the first round.

Ramanathan, 22, produced quality tennis as he served with great speed and angle to outplay his opponent in what turned out to be a lopsided affair.

Ramanathan served 15 aces in comparison to Statham's three in the one hour 52 minute encounter.

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

Indian great Leander Paes, eying his record 43rd doubles win in the Davis Cup, and Vishnu Vardhan will clash with Kiwi pair Artem Sitak and Michael Venus on day two on Saturday.

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