Paes and Bhupati keep India in the race | sports | Hindustan Times
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Paes and Bhupati keep India in the race

sports Updated: Mar 06, 2010 19:22 IST

Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupati kept India's hopes of advancing into the Davis Cup World Group second round alive on Saturday, beating Igor Kunitsyn and Teimuraz Gabashvili in straight sets.

The Indian doubles specialists, who won 14 Grand Slam titles during their career, outclassed the Russian duo 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 in one hour 36 minutes to reduce their team's arrears before Sunday's rubbers with Russia leading 2-1.

"We play well together and we both enjoy playing doubles," Bhupathi said. "Today we played very well."

Paes said: "It wasn't tough to win as they are both singles specialists and their tactics are definitely not the best possible for the doubles match.

"They were spending too much time on the base line, while we played aggressive tennis and, I believe, won the match deservedly."

The visitors looked in command from the start breaking Kunitsyn's serve early for a comfortable 4-1 lead, which they confidently held to clinch a 1-0 lead after 32 minutes.

In the second set the Indians underlined their supremacy on the hardcourt surface of Moscow's Luzhniki Small Sports arena, breaking twice for a commanding 4-0 lead before the hosts chalked up their first point in the set.

The Russians fought but were unable to close the gap as the guests were in a class of their own, gaining a commanding two-set advantage after 37 more minutes of play.

The Indian veterans drove home their superiority in the third set, producing two more breaks to take the set and the match with ease.

On Friday, Russia took a comfortable 2-0 lead as Kunitsyn battled back from a set down to beat Somdev Devvarman 6-7 (6/8), 7-6 (7/4), 6-3, 6-4, while Mikail Youzhny blanked Rohan Bopanna 6-4, 6-2, 6-3.

The reverse singles will complete the match schedule on Sunday, with the winner taking on either Argentina or Sweden in the quarter-finals.