Chandigarh: Vishnu Vardhan scripted a clinical singles victory and then combined with Divij Sharan to win the heart-stopping doubles rubber as India's young guns lived up to the expectations by winning the Davis Cup Group 1 relegation play-off tie against New Zealand here on Saturday.
Keeping their slate clean on the back of some superb performances by the youngsters, India have taken an unassailable 3-0 lead in the Asia/Oceania tie at the CLTA tennis stadium.
The result meant that India will stay in the Asia/Oceania Group in the 2013 season and will strive to regain entry into the elite 16-team World Group.
Vishnu took just 31 minutes in the morning to complete the win against Jose Statham in the second singles, which was halted yesterday due to fading light.
Up by two sets, Vishnu roared to a 6-2 6-7(5) 6-4 6-2 win against the Kiwi number one player, ranked 55 places below him at 317.
He then paired up with Divij, playing in his debut Davis Cup match, to edge past the Kiwi duo of Michael Venus and Daniel King-Tuner 7-6 (3) 4-6Â 6-3 6-7 (4) 6-3 in the marathon third rubber, which lasted three hours and 52 minutes.
The two doubles team dished out high quality tennis and it needed nerves of steel to come through the pressure game. Fortunes fluctuated and both teams had chances to outdo each other, but the Kiwis could not capitalise on the opportunities.
The experience of playing together on the Challenger Tour helped Vishnu and Divij as good chemistry often plays a vital role in tight matches.
It was only for the second time since 1995 that neither Leander Paes nor Mahesh Bhupathi, who have 25 Grand Slam titles between them and also a record 23-match winning streak in Davis Cup, was playing in the doubles rubber for India.
Story first published on: Saturday, 15 September 2012 13:22 IST