14/15 Sep 2012

Saturday 12:04am

Yuki Bhambri fought back from the brink of defeat to script a stunning five-set win over New Zealand’s Daniel King Turner and give India a 1-0 lead in the Davis Cup Asia Oceania Group I relegation play-off tie here today.
Conditions were gloomy when the match started after a 90-minute rain delay and Yuki’s fortunes looked no better as he stared at a humiliating defeat after being down by two sets.
However, the Indian turned it around dramatically to score a 3-6 0-6 6-2 6-4 6-2 win after battling it out for three hours and 15 minutes at the CLTA tennis stadium.
Vishnu Vardhan will now take on Kiwi number one Jose Statham in the second singles. Yuki seemed in complete disarray to start with but the 20-year-old scripted a complete turnaround after being left humiliated in the second set.  The Indian slowed down the pace of the game by engaging his Kiwi rival in long rallies. The sting in the serve was back, errors were curtailed and most importantly Yuki snatched the momentum from Turner, whose patience ran out in the face of crowd favorites' perseverance.
Successive breaks in game five and seven handed Yuki a 5-2 cushion, and he served out the third set after saving a breakpoint in the next game.

Yuki broke the Kiwi player in the first game of the fourth set to gain the advantage. But Turner fought hard and even saved a breakpoint in the fifth game, which he closed with an ace.  However, an early break of serve put the Indian in the advantageous position and it stayed with him as the two players held their serves after that.  Yuki dictated the terms as he set up points easily by opening up the court and executed the winners with ease.  Turner tried drop shots but Yuki had the energy to reach out and put the ball back to his opponent.  He was up by two breaks — game one and seven -? and served out the set and the match in the eighth game.  Earlier, Yuki struggled with his first serve. His left-knee was strapped and he was struggling to keep the ball in.  Turner, in contrast, had made a bright start with an ace.  Yuki had three break chances in the fourth game, but squandered all. However, the Kiwi did not return the favour when the Indian was facing a break in the seventh game.  Another forehand error by Yuki gave Turner a chance to go up and he accepted the chance with a overhead volley winner.

Kiwi tennis No2 Dan King-Turner will take the court first for the 2XU Compression New Zealand Davis Cup team as they play India in their Asia/Oceania Group I relegation playoff in Chandigarh, India starting tomorrow(Friday).

In what is expected to be hot and humid conditions King-Turner will play Indian No1 and former world former world No1 junior player Yuki Bhambri in the first match of the tie followed by Rubin Statham up against Vishnu Vardham.

With current ATP singles rankings of 317 for Statham and 382 for King-Turner they are just below their Indian opponents. However Statham has had a run of good results of late and King-Turner started the year with no ranking as well has beating a number of top 200 ranked players.

Bhambri has a current ATP singles ranking of 179 and Vardham is ranked at 260 in the world. However their Davis Cup experience is limited, something which New Zealand non-playing captain, Marcel Vos says could play to the Kiwis advantage.

“Davis Cup is something different to the pro tour. They have a new team, while our guys are experienced in Davis Cup. There’s going to be a big crowd and it’s unusually hot even for the locals at the moment,” says Vos who believes the humidity and 32 degree temperatures will be a test for both teams.

“I think the match ups and the conditions will be challenging for both teams. Dan and Rubin are playing well at the moment. We’ve been here five or six days and all of the players have been practicing well. We’ve seen their guys play before but never really matched up against them,” explains Vos.

For the doubles Vos has selected Artem Sitak and Michael Venus as his combination, although Vos says things can always be changed up to an hour before a match is scheduled to start.

“I’m comfortable with Artem and Mike in the doubles at the moment. Of course things can change depending on conditions and how we are situated after the first days play,” says Vos.

The New Zealand team was greeted by around 50 enthusiastic tennis media at their hotel when they arrived at Chandigarh.

Davis Cup – New Zealand v India Asia/Oceania Group I Relegation Playoff clash against India in Chandigarh, this weekend.
Schedule (players can be changed up to an hour before a match is scheduled to start).
Friday 14 September 2012
Day One 4.30pm (NZ start time)
Dan King-Turner v Yuki Bhambri
Followed by
Rubin Statham v Vishnu Vardhan
Saturday 15 September 2012
Day Two 6.30pm(NZ start time)
Doubles – Artem Sitak/Michael Venus v Vishnu Varham and Sanam Singh
Sunday 16 September 2012.
Day Three reverse singles 4.30pm (NZ start time)
Rubin Statham v Yuki Bhambri
Followed by
Dan King-Turner v Vishnu Vardhan.

2XU Compression New Zealand team:
Rubin Statham, Dan King-Turner, Michael Venus, Artem Sitak, Marcel Vos (non-playing captain).