Bangalore: Seasoned Leander Paes combined with Sanam Singh to score an easy win against Indonesia’s David Agung Susant and Elbert Sie as India retained their place in Asia/Oceania Group I by taking an unassailable 3-0 lead in the Davis Cup relegation play-off tie, here on Saturday.
Paes, playing his 50th Davis Cup tie, and Sanam recorded a dominating 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 win in 90 minutes, securing the tie for the hosts.
India maintained their record of never losing to Indonesia as the hosts now lead head-to-head statistics 6-0.
Paes, said unity in the Indian Davis Cup team was improving and the camaraderie among players will be better when they will face tougher challengers in the 2014 Davis Cup campaign.
“The atmosphere in the team was phenomenal. I still think the camaraderie will keep getting better as we get into more tougher ties at the World Group playoffs, quarter finals and semi-finals. Don’t forget our dream is to win a Davis Cup. That is what we really started playing for,” Paes.
Paes said the Indian tennis has gone through a lot in last year-and-a-half and it would probably take about another year before things could calmed down.
“For anybody, at the end of the day the game is bigger than all of us. At the end of the day, the country is more important than all of us. So it is our responsibility as much as we have the freedom of speech to do what we want. It is our responsibility to go and play for the country and play for each other,” he said.
Now, Sunday’s reverse singles are mere dead rubbers and Indian captain SP Misra will rest Somdev Dev Varman and instead play Sanam against Christopher Rungkat.
Playing for the first time as a team, Paes and Sanam outsmarted the Indonesian duo as they were too strong for their rivals. They won the first set in a jiffy and broke David and Elbert twice in the second set to take the fizz out of the Indonesian challenge.
Both Indian players put on a great game as it was a treat to watch their chips and volleys at the net. Sanam was fabulous with his serves and returns from the baseline.
After taking a two-set lead the Indians looked a bit complacent and coach Zeeshan Ali kept telling them to keep being focussed.
Paes and Sanam committed many unforced errors including double faults to be broken for the time in the seventh game of the third set.
However, it was too late for the Indonesians as India clinched the tie when Sanam crunched a lovely volley on David’s serve.
For Indonesia, both David and Elbert, put in their lot late in the third set. Elbert pushed himself hard, sprinting at either sides of the court, lobbing and smashing to get back into the game.
Veteran, Paes, also said he won’t be there for a long time and it is upto the young turks to have the Davis Cup Trophy, saying there was not much difference between the present team and the 1993 team, which reached the semi-finals.
“I think it was just a matter of unity that was there back in 1993 and the unity that is coming back now. That is one of the things that the leaders of this team really have to do. They have to bring the team together,” he said adding that the present team is like a rough diamond, needing polishing.
Praising Sanam, Paes said if his transition from baseline game to net gets better, there is no reason he cannot be a phenomenal player. (Agencies)