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08 April 2012

Asia/Oceania Zone Group I: Sunday


MATCH REPORT

By 

  • Suzi Petkovski

Photo: Tommy HindleyWu Di (CHN)

Australia have scored a 5-0 sweep against Korea, Rep. in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Asia/Oceania Group I second round in Brisbane.

Bernard Tomic demolished Jung-Woong Na 62 61 in less than an hour, while Marinko Matosevic had a battle with the talented Min-Hyeok Cho before finishing strongly, 62 26 60.

Although Sunday’s reverse singles were dead rubbers, captain Pat Rafter sent his No. 1, Tomic, back into action, to focus and hit out after his flat display on Friday. “Today was much better than the first day; did the right things,” Tomic said of his last hard court match before hitting the clay courts of Europe. “Job done here.”

Rafter believed Matosevic, who had a torrid Davis Cup baptism in China last July and notched his first win in the doubles with Chris Guccione, would benefit from another, less-pressured singles outing. The 26-year-old late bloomer walked off Pat Rafter Arena with a 2-1 Davis Cup record.

The Aussies are into their fifth World Group play-off in the past six years but looking for their first win to elevate them to the World Group, a level they last reached in 2007. Last September, Australia lost narrowly to the all-star Swiss team of Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka.

“There are a couple of draws that we’d be happy with,” said Rafter, referring to home ties with Italy or Canada, “and a few draws we wouldn’t be happy with.” The latter include away ties against Russia, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and Japan. A tie with Kazakhstan would be decided by coin toss. The draw takes place on Wednesday.

India off the mark

In Namangan, India have salvaged some pride by winning the two reverse singles rubbers of their Asia/Oceania Group I second round against Uzbekistan, in a 3-2 result for the home team.

Yuki Bhambri, who played and lost his first live rubber on Friday, pulled off a rare upset of Uzbek No. 1 and world No. 43 Denis Istomin, 67(1) 76(3) 76(3) in two hours 39 minutes.

The 19-year-old Bhambri, ranked No. 295, inflicted Istomin’s first defeat at home in six years, albeit in a dead rubber. (That 2006 loss, against Danai Udomochoke of Thailand, remains Istomin’s only loss in a live rubber on home soil.)

Rohan Bopanna, a replacement for Sanam Singh, who came down with chicken pox and was hospitalised after losing the first rubber against Istomin, backed up from his doubles loss to defeat Sarvar Ikramov 62 67(0) 61.

Uzbekistan advance to their sixth World Group play-off in September. The Central Asian nation has never made the 16-nation elite group since it joined Davis Cup in 1994. The Uzbeks, though, must fancy their chances in a home tie. The win over India lifted their Davis Cup success rate in Namangan to 5-0.

China edge to fifth rubber victory

In Taipei, China’s Davis Cup dynamo Di Wu has again won the decisive fifth rubber against neighbours Chinese Taipei, giving the visitors a 3-2 win in their first round relegation play-off tie and ensuring China stay in Asia/Oceania Group I in 2013.

Just over a year ago, 20-year-old Wu won the fifth rubber against Chinese Taipei in Shanghai; this time he was even more convincing in hostile territory, defeating Jimmy Wang, ranked over 300 places above him, 64 76(4) 76(4) in just over three hours.

Dramatic swings in momentum have characterised this tie since its delayed, rainy start on the Kaohsiung Yang Ming Tennis Courts, and continued right to the end. Coming into the reverse singles with 2-1 lead after taking the doubles, China had the tie on the racket of their No. 1 player, Ze Zhang.

But the 21-year-old Zhang lost his second singles for the weekend, 63 63 36 75 against local No. 1 Tsung-Hua Yang. For the big-serving Yang, it was an impressive performance after his painful loss to Wu in the first rubber by 8-6 in the fifth, after being hobbled by cramp in the last few games. For Zhang, who starred in China’s doubles win, the loss extends his bleak Davis Cup singles record to 2-11.

Di Wu, meanwhile, made a mockery of his No. 495 ranking to again play the hero and add to his Davis Cup feats. China is shaping as a solid team in Asia/Oceania Group I, while Chinese Taipei now await the loser of the tie between New Zealand and India as they bid to avoid the drop to Group II.

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UZB Flag Uzbekistan v India IND Flag 6-8 Apr 2012 View details

AUS Flag Australia v Korea, Rep. KOR Flag 6-8 Apr 2012 View details

TPE Flag Chinese Taipei v China, P.R. CHN Flag 6-8 Apr 2012 View details

 
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