Indore: Saketh Myneni and Yuki Bhambri recorded dominating straight-set victories as India completed a 5-0 rout of Chinese Taipei in the first round of their Asia/Oceania Group I Davis Cup tie, here on Sunday.
Myneni, who contributed in India`s doubles win yesterday, carried his good form into the singles rubber as captain decided to play him in place of Somdev Devvarman, who won a marathon singles against Ti Chen.
This is the first time after 2005 that India have recorded a whitewash over an opponent.
The 26-year-old Myneni, ranked 313, took just 48 minutes to dispatch higher-ranked Tsung Hua Yang 6-1 6-4 in the dead fourth rubber to put India on the cusp of a whitewash.
Hsien-Yin Peng, who played in place of Ti Chen, fought his heart out to get that elusive win for his side but Yuki Bhambri was too good for him. The 22-year-old closed the tie with an impressive 7-5 6-0 scoreline in the second reverse singles, which lasted just 55 minutes.
Yuki played with complete authority for his second win in the tie and was hardly troubled by Peng, who was nonetheless impressive with his ground strokes.
Peng had nothing to lose so he gave everything to the contest but Yuki was too strong for him. India now lead Chinese Taipei 2-0 in head-to-head record having beaten them in an away tie in 2009. India will now travel to Korea in April to fight for a place in the World Group play-offs.
The scoreline may suggest otherwise but the way Ti Chen pushed Somdev in the second singles and the tremendous pressure put up by the Chinese doubles pair of Peng and Yang against Rohan Bopanna and Myneni yesterday, India had to work hard for a win in the first two days of the tie.
Myneni hardly broke a sweat in continuing India's winning run as Yang only made it easy for him by not challenging the Indian much. Yang could not play to his potential in the whole tie. Before coming here, he had reached the final of a Challenger in the USA and it took him almost three days to reach Indore, directly from Hawaii.
Perhaps the long journey and a tough preceding week took a toll on his performance. With their top players Yen-Hsun Lu and Jimmy Wang not in the side, the responsibility to take the fight in the home camp was on Yang but he failed to deliver.
Both Myneni and Yang played from the baseline, hardly coming towards the net. Yang was down 0-40 in the second game. He saved the first chance with a forehand winner but sent the second long to hand Myneni a 2-0 lead.
Myneni's perfectly calculated lob earned him his second chance to break Yang, who double-faulted on that point to hand the Indian a 5-1 cushion. The Indian served out the set at love with an ace. Unforced errors continued to flow from Yang's racquet and he was down a break point in the seventh game when he netted a volley.
The following backhand, sailing over the lines, handed Myneni a 4-3 lead which he consolidated with a solid hold. He closed the match with a backhand winner. In the second match, the first set was on serve till the 10th game. Peng lost the 11th game from 40-0 due to unforced errors.
When Peng smashed an easy overhead volley to net Yuki had his first chance to go up and the visiting player only helped the Indian by burying a backhand to net. Peng's foot fault, converting into a double fault on a breakpoint in the first game of the second set gave Yuki a perfect start and it was one way traffic after that.