India get the mix right

Veteran Paes combines with Sanam Singh to win doubles as hosts take unassailable 3-0 lead

Written by Smriti Sinha | Bangalore | Published: April 7, 2013 3:07 am

Leander Paes is an Indian doubles legend,if nothing else — having participated in 49 ties before today. Sanam Singh,on the other hand,had never played a doubles game for the country before. On Saturday,they paired up. Incredibly,Singh’s baseline game left little for the veteran to do as they helped India retain their place in Group I of the Asia-Oceania zone with a 6-2 6-1 6-4 win against Indonesia’s Albert Sie and David Susanto.

Singh was on the job on the serving and the receiving end,holding on to his nerves even when he faced a break point while serving out the first set. He held as many as five games to love.

While the Indonesian 23-year old Sie also managed to hold a few (three) games to love,his partner Susanto proved to be the weak link in their team he held his serve for the first time in the third set,0-3 down. But that brief spunk didn’t ever materialise into a comeback as the Indonesians were resigned to their fates.

“When you are playing with Leander all you have to do is make returns and get first serves in,he takes care of the rest” said Singh. And Paes lauded him too for the work from the baseline. “I’m a fan of his backhand grip and swing,it’s so short and sharp. Sanam can become a phenomenal doubles player,” Paes said.

After his performance,Singh has also earned himself the first match of the reverse singles on Sunday,which Somdev Devvarman was initially supposed to play. Just like he had done in the Chandigarh tie some months back,Singh will be looking to achieve a whitewash in another dead rubber.

Kazakh cut lead

YURIY Schukin and Andrey Golubev beat Radek Stepanek and Jan Hajek 7-6 (2),6-4,6-3 in the doubles to cut the Czech Republic’s lead against Kazakhstan in the Davis cup quarterfinals to 2-1 on Saturday. The defending champion Czechs took a 2-0 lead on Friday after Hajek and Lukas Rosol won the opening singles matches. The remaining three quarter-finals were all evenly split at 1-1 after a tense opening day to the men’s team event.

Querrey draws US level

Sam Querrey won his first five-set Davis Cup match beating Victor Troicki 7-6 3-6 4-6 6-1 6-4,to help the United States draw level with Serbia after world number one Novak Djokovic had beaten John Isner 7-6 6-2 7-5 . Milos Raonic cracked 25 aces to defeat Fabio Fognini 6-4 7-6 7-5 in Vancouver to level for Canada after Seppi fought back from two sets behind to beat lowly-ranked Vasek Pospisal 5-7 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-3.

And Juan Monaco beat Gilles Simon in a duel of world top-20 players to put Argentina level 1-1 with France in Buenos Aires. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga overcame Carlos Berlocq 4-6 6-2 6-3 5-7 6-2 to give France the early lead over Argentina but Monaco,ranked 19th in the world,ensured the tie remained wide open after he won the second singles.

Paes joins ITPA

In a surprise development,Leander Paes joined hands with Somdev Devvarman and signed up as a member of the Indian Tennis Players’ Association,a body set up by the latter after he and other top players were left out of the last Davis Cup tie against South Korea.

Having been approached to join the body and given the assurance that the ITPA will not attempt to threaten the authority of the All India Tennis Association or try to replace them,Paes agreed to attend their first general body meeting late on Saturday night. He then also accepted to act as the new body’s vice-president along with Mahesh Bhupathi and Devvarman. ITPA is headed by Jaideep Mukherjea.

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