Davis Cup: Leander wins opening singles

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/p/paes.jpg' class='caption'> India took a 1-0 lead over New Zealand in the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group-1 second round tie as Leander Paes defeated Mark Nielsen in the opening singles at th

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:48 IST
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True to expectations, Leander Paes scripted an authoritative straight set victory over New Zealand's Mark Nielsen in the opening singles to give India a 1-0 lead in the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania group-1 second round tie at the South Club lawns today. Taking full advantage of the home conditions Paes beat the New Zealander by 6-1 7-6 6-2 in less than two hours. The second singles match between Rohan Bopanna and Alistair Hunt was deferred till tomorrow due to water logging on the South Club centre court. Sensational style With the support of the home crowd behind him Paes took off in a whirlwind fashion by breaking the New Zealander in the opening game and then following up with two more break points in the 5th and 7th games to clinch the first set in less than half an hour. Beginning the match in a sensational note Paes demolished his opponent in the opening game of the day with a break point taking full advantage of a tentative Nielsen, who double faulted to concede the game. The next three games went into serves but in the 5th game Paes was at his best unleashing a flurry of spectacular shots to break his opponent who failed to get any point. Peas clinched the set in the 7th game when he fired a delightful down the line passing shot to get a break point before Nielsen put the next rally into the net. With the scorching sun and humidity troubling him, Nielsen took time to settle down as he failed to put up any fight in the opening set. But the second set saw the Kiwi raise his game by several notches as he lifted his serve and looked more agile on the court. Paes tried his best to put pressure on Nielsen's serve in the second game gaining three break points but the New Zealander proved equal to the task and saved each of them. The Indian number one, however, continued his brilliant form as he fired three aces in the third game to retain the serve. Nielsen, however, was also proving equal to the task as he once again foiled an attempt by Paes to break his service in the 8th game, which went to deuce. With both the players managing to hold on to their serves the set rolled into tiebreak where Paes raced to a 3-1 lead. The Indian won the next point by wrong footing Nielsen and then followed it up with a lightening passing shot to move ahead 5-1. After winning the next point, Paes sealed the set as Nielsen put a return into the net. The third set saw the heat and humidity taking its toll on the New Zealander as he looked totally exhausted and taking full advantage of this Paes broke him in the 3rd and 7th games. (PTI)

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