9 July 2010

Qureshi, aged 30 beat New Zealand debutant Michael Venus (below) in a match which lasted 4 hours and 36 minutes, with the final set taking 2 hours and three minutes for a 7-6(2) 4-6 6-2 2-6 15-13 win to the Pakistani.


Venus had three matches points overall and was actually serving for the match at 5-2 in the fifth set but was broken and then had Qureshi hold serve. The experience of Qureshi showed through despite his visibly tired legs.

The loss was devastating for the large and vocal crowd and the team overall with captain Marcel Vos, almost at a loss for words after the match.

"Mike just gave it everything, but unfortunately just came out short in the fifth set. Heís a great asset to the team. He fought all the way. Iím really proud of him, it just didnít work out in the end. The result is so disappointingÖbut anyway itís one all and we must look forward to the next match," said Vos

The match took one hour 54 minutes for Statham to complete the victory despite a shaky start.

"At the start I came out a bit nervous playing within myself a bit too much. I then got the feel and gained in confidence. I then started playing really well. Heís a tricky player to play and can give you troubles. His style is not what youíre used to," said Statham referring to the unorthodox right-handed Khan who hit forehands with two hands and backhands with one hand.

With a large number of long rallies in the first set Statham was forced to grind out points but was able to break his opponents serve in the first game of each set to gain the vital advantage.

The doubles match which has Marcus Daniell and Venus set to clash with Qureshi and Khan is schedule to start at 2pm on Saturday, however teams are able to change combinations prior to the match.

"We have options for the doubles they donít," said Vos. "Qureshi is their strength in doubles, but he will be tired."


Rubin Statham(New Zealand) bt Aqeel Khan(Pakistan) 6-4 6-0 6-0

Aisam Qureshi(Pakistan) bt Michael Venus (New Zealand 7-6 4-6 6-2 2-6 15-13