The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Paes, Amritraj sizzle on grass
- India go 2-0 up against uzbekistan

Jaipur: Some scintillating tennis by Prakash Amritraj and Leander Paes exposed Uzbekistan's weaknesses on grasscourt and gave India a 2-0 cushion in their Asia-Oceania zone group I second-round tie at Jai Club on Friday.

Captain Paes, playing only his second singles match of the season, scored a 7-6 (7-4), 6-2, 6-0 win over Farrukh Dustov before Amritraj dismissed Denis Istomin 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 with a flawless serve-and-volley exhibition.

With Paes to team up with Mahesh Bhupathi for the doubles rubber on Saturday, the visitors face a near impossible task of turning the tie on its head.

Dustov's performance summed up the story.

His was a two-part act. In the first set he took it up to Paes with some strong serving, and in the second he cracked under pressure and threw in the towel.

There was no question of exposing Istomin's weakness, for his inadequacy was all there in the open.

The Uzbek player who had clinched a five-set decider to put his team past Indonesia in the first round and around whom a hype had been built up following his two wins over Mankad on the professional circuit, simply failed to match Amritraj's superiority and was completely outplayed.

Amritraj, who began and finished the match with an ace, was irrepressible in both serve and volley. He also excelled in playing from the back when the Uzbek tried to prevent him from coming up to the net.

The 293-ranked California resident said it didn't matter that Paes had given the side a 1-0 lead.

'It is more thinking about things from outside the court. I just stuck to the basics, once I served the first ball everything went out of my mind,' Amritraj said.

Dustov said he was not happy with the courts.

'This is the first time I am playing (Davis Cup) on grass, and it was not a proper grass court,' he said.

'There were lot of places where there were big patches. There was bad bounce, and return was impossible,' he said.

Non-playing Uzbek captain Vadim Kutsenko, however, gave credit to the Indians even while being understanding of his players.

'Nothing has changed (after the 2-0 result). Both the players (Dustov and Istomin) played well,' he said.

Earlier, start was delayed by more than an hour owing to wet patches caused by heavy rain last evening.

The tricky bounce, mainly the ball keeping low after hitting the patches, troubled the Uzbeks throughout.

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