Captain Leander Paes once again came to India's rescue as he successfully combined with debutant Sunil Kumar Sipaeya to win the crucial doubles rubber against Uzbekistan in the Davis Cup tie on Saturday. Paes and Sipaeya, combining for the first time ever, overcame a spirited fight back by Farrukh Dustov and Denis Istomin 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3 at the Pahlavon Sports complex. The win helped India cut the deficit against the hosts to 2-1 and keep their hopes alive in the Asia-Oceania Group 1 first round contest. The Uzbeks had won the opening singles matches yesterday. The reverse singles will be played on Sunday. Karan Rastogi was slated to play Istomin in the first match followed by Vivek Shokeen against Dustov in the second and last rubber. India are without their star doubles specialist Mahesh Bhupathi with whom Paes had formed an unbeatable partnership in the last 10 years or so. Senior singles players Rohan Bopanna, Prakash Amritraj and Harsh Mankad are absent due to injury and personal reasons. Apart from Paes, all others in the current team were making their Cup debut. Winning both the reverse singles, that will clinch the tie, will be an uphill task for the rookie Indians although one could not rule out Paes stepping in for one of them as last minute replacements. Paes, who does not play singles on the ATP Tour, came to the rescue in India's previous tie against Pakistan in a relegation play-off in Mumbai last April. A win would pit India against Korea in the second round at home, while a loss would see pit them against Kazakhstan, the venue of which would be decided by toss of the coin.
Topics : Tennis