Could not have expected a better start: Anand Amritraj

Posted By: PTI
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Pune, Feb 3: Highly satisfied with the brilliant display put up by his young guns in the first two singles rubbers of the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group I tie against New Zealand here today, Indian team captain Anand Amritraj said he could not have wished for a more positive start.

Davis Cup: India take crucial 2-0 lead over New Zealand

"It was a dream start as it not was expected to win both matches in three sets, I could not have asked for a better start to the tie. Our performance has pushed behind all the controversies and hoopla before the tie," said Amritraj after Yuki Bhambri and Ramkumar Ramkumar thrashed their respective New Zealand rivals to give India a commanding 2-0 lead.

File photo: Anand Amritraj (left) with Indian Davis Cup

Yuki whipped Finn Tearney 6-4 6-4 6-3 after overcoming a sluggish start before Ramkumar consolidated the lead with an equally emphatic 6-3 6-4 6-3 triumph over experienced rival Jose Statham, pounding in eleven aces overall.

"I had not seen Ramkumar serve like today for a long time. He came up with aces at big points. I was also very impressed with his court coverage. Our game plan in both matches went well," said Amritraj who will be replaced by Mahesh Bhupathi after this tie.

But he also cautioned about taking things for granted in tomorrow's doubles tie in which veteran Leander Paes will team up with last minute replacement Vishnu Vardhan against New Zealand's Michael Venus and Artem Sitak.

"I will be happy with a 3-0 margin of victory. It's going to be a tough match. They are one of the top teams in Asia-Oceania zone," he said when asked whether he was confident of a repeat 5-0 sweep as had happened in 2012.

Yuki, who trailed 1-3 and 0-2 in the first two sets before recovering to win in straight sets, said he had not allowed his rival to run away at those stages.

"I was trailing but did not allow him to run away. I got the breaks back immediately. I started playing better in the third set and at all times I felt I was in control," he said.

Ramkumar said his training stint for 15 days in Florida at the Emilio Sanchez academy did a world of good for him.

"I trained very hard for 15 days plus our arrival here on Sunday and training with the juniors helped me a lot," said the 6-foot 2-inch tall Ramkumar.

He also said he knew he had a tough customer on the opposite side having played a three-hour match against Statham earlier.

"Statham is a great player. I tried to put lot of first serves in. It was thus easier to hold my service games and put him under pressure," the Chennai-born player said.

"I had a good couple of days to prepare for the tie. I did not start well but played much better later," said Ramkumar.

New Zealand captain Alistair Hunt said although his team was down 0-2 there have been quite a few occasions in the Cup history where teams fought back and won the tie from such a situation.

"I hope we will win tomorrow's doubles tie and stay alive for Sunday's reverse singles. It's not an impossible task. A lot of teams have done it," he said optimistically.

PTI

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