Vishnu scores easy win, gives India 2-0 lead against NZ

Chandigarh: Vishnu Vardhan registered a comfortable victory over Jose Statham in the second singles to give India a commanding 2-0 lead in the Davis Cup Asia Oceania relegation play-off tie against New Zealand, here on Saturday.

Up by two sets to one in the match, which was stopped yesterday due to fading light, Vishnu dominated the proceedings today as he took just 31 minutes to complete the win.

Vishnu served as well as returned extremely well to beat the Kiwi number one, who is ranked 55 places below him at number 317, 6-2 6-7(5) 6-4 6-2 in a match that lasted a total duration of two hours and 57 minutes.

After missing out on a break chance in the very first game of the day, Vishnu hardly gave his opponent any chance.

The set was locked 2-2 when Vishnu fired a backhand service winner and Statham erred on a backhand return to give the Indian two break points.

The pressure got to the Kiwi and Statham committed another backhand error, putting Vishnu up by a break.

Vishnu then sent down two aces to earn three match points. He sealed the victory with a forehand winner.

He will now combine with Divij Sharan to play the doubles against Michael Venus and Artem Sitak.

On Friday, world no. 262, Vishnu made a dominating start as he straightaway took a 4-1 lead with a break of serve and comfortably pocketed the opening set.

The Indian had faced just one breakpoint in the unfinished contest on Friday.

Statham though put up a gallant fight and a baseline slugfest began in the second set. With the two players holding serves, the issue was decided through the tie-breaker, which was won by the Kiwi after reeling off four straight points while trailing 3-5.

After being locked 4-4, Vishnu got the crucial break in the ninth game and served out the set in the next.

Expected Statham did not want to continue and the officials accepted his plea considering insufficient light.

Earlier, Yuki had won the first match of the tie against Daniel King Turner to put India ahead.