Davis Cup, live score: Leander Paes’ dream shattered as India lose doubles rubber vs New Zealand

Leander Paes’ dream of a record 43rd Davis Cup win lay in tatters after he and Vishnu Vardhan lost their Asia-Oceania Group 1 tie versus New Zealand’s Artem Sitak and Michael Venus in Pune. Kiwis won 3-1. Get live tennis score and live updates here.

tennis Updated: Feb 04, 2017 20:47 IST
B Shrikant
india vs new zealand,davis cup,leander paes
Leander Paes and Vishnu Vardhan is clashing against New Zealand’s Artem Sitak and Michael Venus in a Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group 1 doubles tie at Pune’s Balewadi Sports Complex on Saturday. India lead 2-0. Catch live tennis score and live updates.(AP)

New Zealand’s Artem Sitak and Michael Venus beat India’s Leander Paes and Vishnu Vardhan 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(6), 6-3 in their double match in Pune on Saturday. India still lead 2-1 in the tie.

8.39 pm IST: Now its over to the reverse singles matches on Sunday. India’s Ramkumar Ramanathan will take on New Zealand No. 1 Finn Tearney in the first match tomorrow and India will hope he will seal the tie 3-1.

8.36 pm IST: AND IT’S ALL OVER FOR LEANDER AND VISHNU. New Zealand hold serve and win the fourth set 6-3. Artem Sitak and Michael Venus win this doubles encounter three sets to one, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(6), 6-3. India lead the tie 2-1 having won both the singles match on the opening day on Friday.

8.30 pm IST: The crowd cheering the Indians loudly hoping for some magic .

8.27 pm IST: Superb return volleys from Vishnu but New Zealand had a match point as Leander fails to control a volley. India save the point and Leander holds serve to make it 5-3 in fourth set.

8.23 pm IST: Sitak holds his serve as the Indians make couple of unforced errors, New Zealand lead 5-2 and are heading to victory in this doubles match.

8.20 pm IST: Vishnu holds his serve after New Zealand make it 40-40. New Zealand lead 4-2 in fourth set.

8.15 pm IST: New Zealand hold serve to lead 4-1 in the fourth set.

8.11 pm IST: Leander holds serve to make it 1-3. They need to attack Michael Venus on his serve now.

8.10 pm IST: Leander serving now and the crowd hoping for some magic from him. India need that desperately otherwise they will lose this doubles match.

8.08 pm IST: Sitak holds serve and New Zealand lead 3-0 in fourth set. They are 2-1 up.

8.06 pm IST: BROKEN! The Kiwis send some good returns, earn two break points and wins. New Zealand leads 2-0 in fourth set.

8.00 pm IST: New Zealand hold serve in first game of the fourth set.

7.54 pm IST: Micheal Venus and Artem Sitak have got a good rhythm going, Leander and Vishnu are doing well considering they did not practice much in the run to this match as the latter came in as a replacement for Saketh Myneni. They need to make an early break in the fourth set.

7.51 pm IST: New Zealand lead two sets to one, The score is 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (8/6) in favour of the Kiwis after the third set.

7.50 pm IST: An error by the Indians and it is 7-6 for New Zealand and they win the next point to wrap up the third set.

7.48 pm IST: Indians make it 6-6 as the Kiwis put the ball into net.

7.48 pm IST: But the Kiwi follows it up with an ace to make it 6-5.

7.47 pm IST: A double fault by Michael Venus makes it 5-5.

7.46 pm IST: 5-4 for New Zealand as Vishnu makes an unforced error.

7.46 pm IST: A good serve by Vishnu and it is 4-4.

7.45 pm IST: A poor return by Leander and it is 4-3 for New New Zealand.

7.44 pm IST: Vishnu returns into the net and it is 3-3 in third set tie-break.

7.44 pm IST: Leander serves well to force an error to make it 3-2 for India.

7.43 pm IST: Nice work by Vishnu at the net and Leander puts away the weak return to make it 2-2.

7.42 pm IST: A superb winner by Michael Venus makes it 2-1 for New Zealand in the third set tie-break.

7.41 pm IST: 1-1 as Sitak hits a good volley after the umpire overrules a call by the line judge.

7.40 pm IST: India win the first point after a superb rally in tie-break.

7.39 pm IST: Sitak serves well and holds his serve to make it 6-6 in the third set. They get ready for the tie-break.

7.36 pm IST: The crowd cheers as the Indians step on to the court after the break. They are hoping for India to break the Kiwis.

7.35 pm IST: Superb work at net by Vishnu off some good serves by Leander Paes as India make it 6-5.

7.32 pm IST: A superb lob by Leander Paes and a lucky ball off the net cord got India the first point but the Kiwis come up with a good response as Venus holds serve to make it 5-5. Third set heading to tie-break unless somebody loses his nerve.

7.28 pm IST: Another ace by Vishnu and a couple of poor returns from the Kiwis help him hold serve. India 5-4 in third set.

7.25 pm IST: Sitak holds serve at love as New Zealand make it 4-4 in third set.

7.22 pm IST: Easy service game for Leander as India lead 4-3. Games going with serve in the third set so far.

7.20 pm IST: Michael Venus sends some big serves as he holds serve at love to make it 3-3 in the third set.

7.16 pm IST: Vishnu serves well and the Indians adopt the tandem formation to win the fifth game. India 3-2 in third set.

7.13 pm IST: Both Leander Paes and Vishnu hit good returns but the Kiwis keep up their intensity to level 2-2 by holding serve. 2-2 in third set.

7.06 pm IST: Leander Paes serves well before hitting a nice winner off a return. India win third game of third set. 2-1 for India.

7.04 pm IST: A brilliant rally by the Indians in which Vishnu created a chance for Leander Paes to send a volley between the Kiwis. Venus serves a double fault as India earn two break points. Kiwis however save both to hold serve and make it 1-1 in third set.

6.58 pm IST: Vishnu holds serve in first game of third set though the Kiwis had put him under some pressure. 1-0 for India in third set.

6.55 pm IST: The Kiwis give a strong reply as they get into rhythm. It’s developing into a long battle between two good doubles sides. The capacity crowd in the stands have a tennis feast on their platter.

6.53 pm IST: Venus serves well and New Zealand wins second set 6-3. India won the first set at the same score.

6.49 pm IST: Leander Paes holds serve to make it 3-5 in the second set. Venus serving to seal the set for New Zealand.

6.47 pm IST: New Zealand hold serve with ease and lead 5-2 now. Leander Paes will now serve for India to stay in the set. They need to win this game and break back if they have to win the second set too.

6.43 pm IST: Vishnu holds serve as the Indians win sixth game. New Zealand still lead 4-2 in second set.

6.40 pm IST:4-1 for New Zealand in second set as Michael Venus holds his serve. He serves well and does not give India any chance to break back.

6.38 pm IST: BROKEN! Two errors by Leander and a superb volley by Sitak helps the Kiwis break Leander’s serve. New Zealand lead 3-1 in second set.

6.32 pm IST: Sitak holds serve as New Zealand lead 2-1 in second set.

6.30 pm IST: The chest bumps are back as Vishnu and Leander Paes execute one after the latter hit a fine volley in the second game of second set.

6.28 pm IST: Superb drop shot by Leander Paes made room for Vishnu to place a volley in between the New Zealand players. Vishnu served a double fault but managed to hold serve. 1-1 in second set.

6.25 pm IST: The Indians put Michael Venus under pressure to earn two break points. Venus saves both to hold serve in the first game of the second set. 1-0 for New Zealand.

6.22 pm IST: Both Leander and Vishnu served well and also looked sharp at the net. Sitak served well and also sent some good returns. They need to control their errors.

6.19 pm IST: Leander-Vishnu earn three set points but the Kiwis save two of them. Vishnu seals first set for India with an ace. India win first set 6-3.

6.15 pm IST: Sitak serves well and the Indians make a couple of unforced errors as the Kiwis make it 5-3 in the first set.

6.12 pm IST: Good play on net by Vishnu and first ace for Leander Paes, India hold serve to go up 5-2 in first set. Live tennis score continue here.

6.08 pm IST: A good return and a lucky ball off the net cord helps Leander-Vishnu earn two break points. And they convert the first to break Michael Venus’ serve. India up 4-2 in first set.

6.05 pm IST: Two aces by Vishnu and a superb volley by Paes at the net helps them win the game and make it 3-2 in first set. Games going with serve so far.

6.03 pm IST: The New Zealand combination hold serve at love to make it 2-2 in first set.

6.00 pm IST: Paes serves well and Vishnu looks sharp at the net. Paes holds serve, India lead 2-1 in first set.

5.58 pm IST: Artem Sitak holds serve and it is 1-1 in first set.

5.54 pm IST: Powerful serving by Vishnu, hits his first ace as India win the first game. 1-0 in first set.

5.50 pm IST: All set for the first game. India won the toss and Vishnu Vardhan to serve.

5.46 pm IST: India have won the toss and now the players will be knocking the ball for next five minutes to get a feel of the court.

5.42 om IST: Nana Patekar is the guest at the toss. He will be flipping the coin.

5.40 pm IST: Actor Nana Patekar makes an appearance before the toss. Shakes hands with the players and Anand Amritraj.

5.38 pm IST: The players walk on to the court with New Zealand first, followed by India’s doubles combinations. Time for the national anthems.

5.37 pm IST: This is the second outing for the pair of Artem Sitak and Michael Venus -- Paes and Vardhan’s opponents --- in Davis Cup. They had won their first match in the Asia/Oceania Group 1 quarterfinal against South Korea.

5.35 pm IST: The doubles teams have lined up for the match. The Indian singles players have already taken their seats courtside.

5.33 pm IST: An emotional Leander Paes is being felicitated for his contribution to Indian tennis.

5.28 pm IST: The organisers have felicitated Anand Amritraj for his contribution to Indian tennis. Amritraj was part of the team when Pune hosted the India v Russia Davis Cup tie 43 years ago.

5.24 pm IST: Paes and Vardhan had paired up for the London Olympics in 2012 but lost to second seeds Michael Llodra and Jo-Wilfred Tsonga of France in the second round.

The stands are filling up fast for India’s Davis Cup doubles match. (HT Photo)

5.18 pm IST: This is Leander Paes’ first match with Vishnu Vardhan in the Davis Cup.

5.16 pm IST: In the last decade, Paes has teamed up with Saketh Myneni, Rohan Bopanna, Sanam Singh, Purav Raja, Sunil Kumar Sepaeya and Vishal Uppal apart from Bhupathi of course.

5.14 pm IST: Since that tie in 1990, Paes has paired up with many partners but he was most successful with Mahesh Bhupathi.

5.11 pm IST: Paes made his debut in 1990 against South Korea. He paired with Zeeshan Ali for the doubles match which they lost 6-2, 0-6, 1-6, 6-3, 7-9. Paes also played a singles match in that tie and lost 6-7, 0-6 to Kim Bong-Soo as India lost 0-5.

The court was washed late on Friday night in preparation for India’s Davis Cup doubles match. (HT Photo)

5.09 pm IST: With India leading 2-0, the stage is set for the doubles match. This is Leander Paes’ 54th doubles match in Davis Cup. He has won 42 and lost 12.

5.05 pm IST: Welcome to HT’s coverage of the second day of India’s Group 1 Davis Cup tie against New Zealand in Pune. Follow live score and live updates here.

Considering the number of records he has set for India, Leander Paes’ name will remain etched in the annals of Indian tennis history for posterity. Leander Paes is the oldest male player to win a Grand Slam title. He has won a combined 18 Grand Slam titles in men’s doubles and mixed doubles and has achieved the rare men’s doubles/mixed doubles double at the 1999 Wimbledon tournament. He holds a career Grand Slam in men’s doubles and mixed doubles. Catch live tennis score and live updates of India vs New Zealand Asia-Oceania Group 1 tie here.

In Davis Cup, Leander Paes holds the record for playing most number of years (25) and has figured in the most number of ties for India (54).

On Saturday, during India’s Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group 1 tie against New Zealand, Paes will be going for another record – for most doubles wins. He is currently tied with Nicloa Pietrageli of Italy at 42 wins each. India lead 2-0 after Yuki Bhambri and Ramkumar Ramanathan won their singles rubbers on Friday.

Leander Paes (from left), Ramkumar Ramnathan and Vishnu Vardhan during the inaugural ceremony of the Davis Cup at Balewadi Stadium in Pune on Thursday. (PTI)

Leander Paes and his new partner Vishnu Vardhan will meet New Zealand’s Artem Sitak and Michael Venus in the doubles match at the Balewadi Sports Complex here.

As a subscript to the main plot, by winning the doubles encounter, Paes and Vishnu Vardhan will also seal an unassailable lead of 3-0 for India, and a place in the next round.

Tough opponents

However, Paes and Vishnu face a tough encounter against a combination that though has not played much together but are individually ranked higher than the Indians. Venus ranked 36 while Sitak is 56. In comparison, Paes is at 64 and Vishnu at 338.

Also, Paes and Vishnu themselves have not played together since the 2012 London Olympics and did not get to practice a lot before this tie as Vishnu was called in as replacement on Friday when Saketh Myneni pulled out due to an injury.

Doubles controversy

Selection of doubles teams in Indian tennis, for any tournament, has been marred by controversy for the last many years as the three protagonists -- Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna -- have been at loggerheads.

They fought before the London Olympics over who will partner Bopanna, while Paes and Bopanna had a spat before and after the Rio Olympics last year.

The feeling in tennis circles here is that the selectors dropped Bopanna for the tie against New Zealand to allow Paes achieve his record with a partner of his choice and prepare ground for easing him out of the team considering his age and recent drop in rankings. However, Myneni’s injury has thrown a spanner in the works.

Will Leander Paes finally get the record that he most definitely deserves?

First Published: Feb 04, 2017 14:28 IST