TIANJIN: Veteran Leander Paes on Saturday created a world record for most doubles wins in the Davus Cup history ever. Peas combined with Rohan Bopanna to not only grab a record 43rd win but also bring India back in tie against China.
Forced to play together by AITA, 44-year-old Paes and Bopanna downed a fighting Chinese pair of Mo Xin Gong and Ze Zhang 5-7 7-6(5) 7-6(3) in the do-or-die doubles rubber of the Asia/Oceania Group I tie.
India were trailing 0-2 in the tie after Ramkumar Ramanathan and Sumit Nagal suffered surprise tame defeats on Friday and needed a win in the doubles to stay alive in the tie.
The Indian youngsters will now have to win both the reverse singles to advance to the World Group Play-offs.
Paes, India's Davis Cup hero for years, was tied on 42 wins with Italian great Nicola Pietrangeli for long but finally surpassed him, albeit, in a foreign land.
Paes had made his Davis Cup debut in 1990 along side Zeeshan Ali, who is now coach of the side, and grew into a legend in company of Mahesh Bhupathi, who is now the captain of the side.
Paes and Bhupathi, who together ruled the ATP circuit in late 90s with their incredibly successful partnership, weaved the longest unbeaten winning streak of 24 matches.
"Playing China in China will be tough. They have got a junior who won the US Open, plus they have a tough doubles team, which beat a good New Zealand side. It's going to be tough. The Chinese play well together as a team. It's wonderful after 29 years to go for a world record for India. I am happy to be back in the Indian team. But for me it's important for the team to win the tie," Paes had earlier told PTI in an interaction.