Leander Paes grabbed a record 43rd win at the ongoing Davis Cup to become the most successful doubles player in the history of Davis Cup. Paes paired with Rohan Bopanna on Saturday to beat Chinese pair Mo Xin Gong and Ze Zhang 5-7 7-6(5) 7-6(3) in the do-or-die doubles rubber of the Asia/Oceania Group I tie taking place in Tianjin.
Paes was tied on 42 wins with Italian great Nicola Pietrangeli before Saturday when the Indian became the most successful doubles player in the tournament’s history. Paes has come a long way after making his debut in Davis Cup in 1990 with Zeeshan Ali, who is now the coach.
The partnership of Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, the current captain of the team, was incredibly successful as they ruled the ATP circuit in 90s. The two weaved the longest unbeaten winning streak of 24 matches.
With the win, India is back in tie against China after a bad start on Friday. Paes-Bopanna were forced to play together by AITA despite Bopanna expressing reluctance to play with Paes in the tie against China.
However, with experience on their side, Paes-Bopanna dragged the match against China into the decider where the Indians lost three games in a row to be down 3-4 from a commanding 3-1 lead. Paes came out to serve at 5-6 and went down 0-30 but pulled off the crucial hold to force another tie-breaker.
India needed this win desperately to stay alive in the tie after trailing 0-2 when Ramkumar Ramanathan and Sumit Nagal suffered surprise defeats on Friday. India will now have to win both the reverse singles to advance to the World Group Play-offs.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines