Indonesia holds court with lead in Davis Cup tie
JAKARTA (JP): Indonesia made a good start in the opening of Group II of the Davis Cup Asia Oceania zone by overpowering Malaysia 2-0 at National Tennis Center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Friday.
Second singles Suwandi overcame Malaysian first singles Vasuthevan Ortchuan 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 while Indonesia's first singles Febi Widhiyanto thrashed Selvam Veerasingam 6-3, 6-3, 6-2.
Coach Deddy Prasetyo expressed confidence that Indonesia could make a clean sweep in the tie. Winners of the three-day tie will play either Pakistan or Chinese Taipei in October, vying to qualify for the Asia-Oceania group one Davis Cup.
Deddy said that Suwandi was one class better than Ortchuan, while Febi had to fight hard before he could stop Veerasingam.
"Suwandi is of better quality that Ortchuan. The match was not so tight. But Veerasingam has a good serve and volley. After a while, Febi could figure out his manner of play and managed to take the lead with his fast and powerful return service. Selvam could not cope with Febi's speed," he said.
In Taipei, Taiwan ran level with rival Pakistan in singles on the opening day of the Asia-Oceania group II Davis Cup second round match held in central Taichung city on Friday.
Taiwan's number one Lin Ping-chao defeated Asim Shafik in the first singles match while Pakistan's top player Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi beat Tsai Chia-yen in the following match.
The 26-year-old Lin raced through the opening singles, 6-1, 6- 0, 6-0 in 70 minutes, AFP reported.
In the second match, Qureshi scored 6-4, 7-6 (7-2), 7-5 after an 80-minute tough fight with Tsai, Taiwan's number three player. A doubles match is scheduled on Saturday and two singles on Sunday.
In Hong Kong, big-hitting Alexei Kedruyk helped Kazakhstan to a share of the opening singles in the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania zone Group II play-off tie against Hong Kong here on Friday.
Kedruyk, Kazakhstan's number one player, swept past Hong Kong's Wayne Wong 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 in a dazzling display of power tennis to help his country level scores at 1-1 after the first day singles.
Hong Kong number one Melvin Tong had earlier given the hosts the initial advantage when he battled back after dropping the first set against Pavel Baranov to win 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-5.
But Hong Kong's hopes of taking a decisive lead in this tie to avoid relegation into Group III next year were quickly dispelled by the big-serving Kedruyk who easily dispatched Wong to level terms.
In New Delhi, India and South Korea shared the opening singles in their Asia-Oceania group one Davis Cup second round tie here on Friday.
Olympic bronze medalist Leander Paes put India ahead with a fluent 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 win over Asian Games champion Yoon Yong-Il in the first match.
India's hopes of extending the lead were, however, dashed by South Korean number one Lee Hyung-Taik who blanked Syed Fazaluddin 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 in the second singles.
Fazaluddin, son of former Indian soccer coach Syed Naeemuddin, will also partner Paes in Saturday's crucial doubles in the absence of Mahesh Bhupathy, who is recovering from shoulder surgery.
Despite the scorching midday temperature, the Koreans too decided to field the same players in the doubles although both teams have the option of making a change an hour before the match.
The winner of the best-of-five rubber will qualify for the play-offs for next year's elite 16-nation world group.
In Yokohama, Japan, Japan moved to within a step of beating Lebanon when it took the two singles win in the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group One second round play-off on Friday.
The Japanese, which suffered a shock 2-3 defeat to archrival South Korea on Friday to face a relegation scare, got off to a flying start with Yaoki Ishii beating Hicham Zaatini 6-4, 6-3, 6- 3 in the opener.
Goichi Motomura wasted no time to follow Ishii with a 6-3, 6- 3, 6-1 victory over Ali Hamadeh to put Japan two up.
Satoshi Iwabuchi and Tomas Shimada will take on Zaatini and Hamadeh in the doubles on Saturday before the two reverse singles matches on Sunday.
In Adelaide, Australia, Wayne Arthurs wrestled with David Prinosil for more than four hours to give Australia a decisive 2- 0 lead over Germany in the Davis Cup World Group tennis quarterfinals at Memorial Drive on Friday.
Arthurs, called in last weekend as an injury replacement for Mark Philippoussis, wore down the German No.1, 7-6 (7/5), 3-6, 7- 6 (7/3), 6-7 (7/9), 11-9 in four hours 13 minutes. He remains unbeaten in three Davis Cup singles matches.
Earlier, Lleyton Hewitt hurtled through the opening singles overwhelming Cup debutante Michael Kohlmann, 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 in 86 minutes.
There were only two service breaks in the late match with Prinosil breaking Arthurs in the fourth game of the second set and Arthurs in the decisive 20th game of the fifth set.
Arthurs said he struggled to find rhythm on his big left- handed service, but he still came up with 39 aces.
It was cruel reward for Prinosil, who is shouldering the full workload for Germany at the tie and has to back up in Saturday's doubles and again in Sunday's reverse singles.
Prinosil felt he had played better than Arthurs, but lost the last point.
Arthurs had and lost three separate match points against Prinosil, but the winning break came in the final game of the fifth set when he had the German down 0-40 on his service.
The contest was over for Prinosil when he put a smash out on the fourth match point.
Arthurs faces the prospect of missing out on Sunday's reverse singles to Pat Rafter, who may be called up by Australian captain John Newcombe should he come through Saturday's doubles rubber unscathed.