15 Sep 2018

New Zealand lose Davis Cup relegation battle

8:14 pm on 15 September 2018

New Zealand have lost their Davis Cup relegation tie 3-2 to South Korea in Gimcheon, and will play their tennis next year in Asia Oceania group two.

Rubin Statham

Rubin Statham Photo: Photosport

Rubin Statham gave New Zealand an early lead with a 7-6 (10) 6-2 win over Hong Seong-Chan before Korean No.1 Lee Duckhee levelled the tie at 1-1 with a 7-5 6-7(7) 6-2 win over Venus in a shade over two hours.

New Zealand then overcame the late loss of Marcus Daniell to a back injury, winning the vital doubles rubber 7-5 6-3 to edge in front as 19-year-old Ajeet Rai stepped up to partner Artem Sitak against Hong and Lee Jea Moon.

However, Lee Duckhee proved too strong for Statham in the first reverse singles match, winning 6-4 6-1 to send the tie to the fifth and crucial rubber.

New Zealand No.2 Michael Venus pushed Lim Yong-Kyu hard in the 90-minute decider, but the South Korean came through for a 7-6 6-4 win.