The first match was won in
relatively straightforward fashion
by Rubin Statham
6-4 6-4 6-4 over Ruben
Gonzales in two hours 20
showed plenty of grit and
determination to force errors in the
Although the score was straight sets
Statham was forced
to work for each point in front of
an enthusiastic crowd.
However the second match lasted
close to four hours as Kiwi No1
defeated former top 100 player
Cecil Mamiit 6-7(6)
7-6(4) 6-3 4-6 6-3.
A year ago Venus,
23, had lost a dramatic five set
contest on the same court to a more
experienced Pakistani opponent
Asiam Qureshi 15-13
in the final set. This time he was
to remain focussed and use his big
serve to his advantage as the
appeared to fade in the fifth and
Venus was able to
break his serve in the seventh game
to go ahead 4-3. From then on it was
both players holding serves until
Venus broke again
to win 6-3.
From the outset the clash between
Venus ranked at 305
in the world and Mamiit
who no longer has a ranking
but is part of ‘Team Sharapova' as
the Wimbledon finalists hitting
partner, was always going to be a
battle of the serves.
There were no breaks in the first
set as Mamiit
eventually won 8-6 in the tiebreak.
The second set also went to a
tiebreak, but this time
Venus winning 7-4. In the
third it was just one break of serve
with Venus able to
break in the fourth game to go ahead
3-1 and take the set 6-3.
The fourth set was serve-for-serve
until the final game where
Mamiit broke Venus
to win 6-4.
“I’m feeling little bit sore and
tired,” said Venus
after the match. “I felt like I was
serving well, hitting my spots and
backing up well. I took my
opportunities on returning when I
got the opportunity. I was pretty
frustrated losing the fourth set. I
really tried to focus on those
important points in the fifth set,”
The pressure now goes on
Mamiit as the captain of
his team and whether he plays
himself in the doubles as well as
any potential reverse singles.
“The plan was to come out 2-0 ahead.
It was a great performance from
Rubin. And for
Mike in a see-saw battle at the
end. I’m pleased Mike
held his nerve at the end. Two-nil
plays a lot different than 1-1.
We're not taking anything lightly.
We want to go out and finish the job
tomorrow,” said New Zealand
non-playing captain, Marcel
The doubles match starts at 2pm with
Artem Sitak and
listed for the Kiwis against
Gonzales and Jonny
combinations can be changed up to
one hour before the scheduled start