New Zealand has given itself a lifeline by winning the doubles rubber in its Asia/Oceania Zone Group I 2nd round relegation play-off tie against Chinese Taipei.
It proved to be an inspired decision by Kiwi skipper Marcel Vos to bring in Daniel King-Turner to replace Artem Sitak as the Antipodeans scored a vital point on the second day of play at the Kaohsiung Yangming Tennis Courts.
Trailing 2-0 going into Saturday's doubles, the team from New Zealand knew that anything but a win would see them relegated to Asia/Oceania Zone Group II next year. But King-Turner and Jose Statham showed their resilience and outfought Liang-Chi Huang and Cheng-Peng Hsieh winning 36 76(4) 61 64.
The victory means the tie is still in the balance going into the final day of play. Huang is scheduled to face King-Turner in the clash of the No. 1s in Sunday's first reverse singles rubber. Chinese Taipei require one more point to win the tie, while New Zealand need to win both the remaining singles rubbers.
Denmark edge closer to victory
In this weekend's other Zone Group I relegation play-off, which is being played at the Tali Tennis Center in Helsinki, it was the visitors who won what could prove to be a key point in Saturday's doubles rubber.
Denmark's doubles specialist Frederik Nielsen, who is the reigning Wimbledon doubles champion, partnered Thomas Kromann to a 64 62 64 victory over Timo Nieminen and Juho Paukku.
The latter, who had scored a stunning victory over Nielsen in yesterday's singles, came in as a replacement for Micke Kontinen but he could do nothing to prevent Denmark from taking a 2-1 lead in the tie.
The pressure is now all on Nieminen to defeat Nielsen in the first of the reverse singles rubbers tomorrow if the home side is to have any chance of keeping its place in Europe/Africa Zone Group I next year.
The Danes need one more point to win the tie, while the Finns require victory in both Sunday's singles rubbers.