Christchurch: Indian youngster Yuki Bhambri says he could not have played better against Jose Statham as he saved India the blushes on day one by winning the second singles in the Asia/Oceania Group I tie, here on Friday.
After Somdev Devvarman's stunning five-set defeat, Yuki drubbed Jose Statham in straight sets to level the tie 1-1.
"Initially I was nervous but I tried to stay focussed on my match and just gave it my best. It was a clinical performance. I could not have played any better," Yuki told PTI after his match.
"Getting early breaks in the first set helped as I could play freely. And winning the first set was the key," he added.
Not only the 23-year-old Delhi lad but his team also felt that Yuki was superb in his match.
"The good thing about today is that Yuki played a fantastic match and put us on the board, really took to his opponent. Some of the best tennis I have seen Yuki playing in such a tough situation after going down 1-0 in a Davis Cup match away from home," said Somdev about his teammate.
India coach Zeeshan Ali was also effusive in his praise for Yuki.
"Yuki played flawless tennis. One of the best tennis I've seen him play. He's been timing the ball beautifully the whole week and today was exceptional tennis from him. He didn't give his opponent any chance to settle for the first 2 and a half sets," Zeeshan said.
Speaking about his surprise defeat, Somdev said he did not play badly but his opponent was just too good.
"Definitely, it was a tough day for me in the office. I started off really well, serving really well in the first two sets, I only faced one break point in the first two sets and after that the guy certainly played very good to be honest," Somdev said.
"There is whole lot of things that went wrong, I started talking to my teammates and captain about what happened out there. All in all, the guy really played well. There is nothing wrong in my game but he outplayed in the last few sets," Somdev said.
Coach Zeeshan and Yuki said ideally India should have gone up 2-0 on day one itself but for the brilliance of Michael Venus.
"Of course we had a good shot but Venus was outstanding in the last three sets. Doubles is very crucial tomorrow," opined Yuki.
Adding to that, Zeeshan said," I would have been happy being up 2-0 but it's better to be 1-1 than 2-0 down. Doubles will be extremely crucial tomorrow. Our boys play against two players who are both inside top-50. It'll be a close match and one that could make a difference to this tie."
Rohan Bopanna and Saketh Myneni will not take on the Kiwi combo of Marcus Daniell and Artem Sitak in the doubles.
Asked about Somdev's defeat, Zeeshan felt, "The match turned around when it was 1-1 in the third set, Somdev was up 40-0 on Venus's serve. Three break points. Venus played extraordinary tennis after that. Somdev didn't play badly at all but was outplayed in the next three sets."
Somdev was hopeful that India will clinch the doubles rubber tomorrow.
"Spirits are up, hopes are up because momentum is back on our side. We are looking forward to Bops (Rohan Bopanna) and Saki (Saketh Myneni) going out there and playing some good tennis. I am sure that they have it in them," he said.