17 Jul 2015

Venus wins but Statham loses in Davis Cup

6:50 pm on 17 July 2015

The national men's tennis team are all tied up with India at 1-1 after the first two singles matches of their Davis Cup tie against India in Christchurch.

New Zealand No.2 Michael Venus came back to win his match in five sets against the top-ranked Indian, Somdev Devvarman - but then national No.1 Rubin Statham lost the second singles tie in three sets to Yuki Bhambri.

Michael Venus in action at Wilding Park

Michael Venus in action at Wilding Park Photo: Photosport

Venus, ranked over 500 in ATP singles but 44 in doubles, came from two sets down to score a 4-6 4-6 6-3 6-3 6-1 victory over Indian No.1 Somdev Devvarman, ranked 148th in the world, in three hours 43 minutes.

The win was the second from two sets down for Venus in his career and gave his team some real positivity after the first two sets had the home side looking a little shaky.

"I wasn't doing anything wrong in the first couple of sets but he was playing very well and chasing everything down," Venus said. "I was able to up my game a bit more and really show some fight in the third set and from then I was able to stick to the game plan and keep going. It's one of my best wins of my career and it's against a guy who has been previously ranked in the top 100."

Statham lost to Indian No.2 Yuki Bhambri 6-2 6-1 6-3 in the second singles of the day with the match effectively going too quick for Statham, who looked short of match play after some niggling injuries and illness of late appeared to take their toll. Traditionally Statham is a player who will sweat blood on the court in Davis Cup, however this time Bhambri, who is ranked well inside the top 200, was too smooth with his shots and able to finish off the points quickly.

New Zealand captain Alistair Hunt said that despite Statham's loss, he was still very happy with how things sit for his side at the completion of the first day.

"Mike had a great comeback and played some great tennis. He was a little slow to start, but once he got on a roll he was playing great tennis," Hunt said. "Rubin was probably a little short of a gallop, but he'll be back strong on Sunday. The doubles is going to be tough, but Artem (Sitak) and Marcus (Daniell) are a confident team right now. It will be a good match."

The doubles to be played on Saturday has the home combination of Artem Sitak and Marcus Daniell against world No.10 Rohan Bopana and Saketh Myneni.

The reverse singles are held on Sunday.

The winner of the tie gains a spot in World Group playoffs in September, with their opposition to come from nations such as Switzerland, Czech Republic, United States, Croatia and Japan.