Sun, 08 Apr 2001

South Korea leads Indonesia 3-0 in Davis Cup zonal group

JAKARTA (JP): A broken racket string ended Indonesia's fight in the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania zone Group One second round playoff on Saturday and forced the visitor to bow out 3-0 to host South Korea.

Indonesia's veteran doubles players Bonit Wiryawan and Sulistyo Wibowo failed to maintain their pace and lost to Lee Hyung-taik and Yoon Yong-il 7-6 (7-4), 6-0, 4-6, 4-6, 1-6 at Olympic Park outdoor court in Seoul.

Bonit said that lady luck did not smile on them.

"We won the first two sets. We led 4-0 in the third set and managed two break points. We should have been able to end it 6-0 but suddenly South Korea turned the tables. We were out of luck. It's a very bitter experience," he told The Jakarta Post by phone.

It was 4-0 for the Indonesians when Sulistyo broke his racket string before serving.

"It wasn't just about the broken string, for Sulistyo was very disturbed by the minor incident. He lost confidence when using the new racket as he was very familiar with the old one. Everything changed so quickly afterwards," Bonit said, while Sulistyo was not available for comment.

Bonit expressed hope that the juniors would learn from the failure.

"The South Korean pair was rather frustrated after we beat them in the first set. But we failed to win the psychological war."

Non-playing captain Tintus Arianto Wibowo said he was disappointed with the result, but he also praised the doubles team's performance.

"We want to change the old tradition that we always lost 0-5 to South Korea on the latter's home soil."

Indonesia fought for the 10th time against Korea. Indonesia was whitewashed 5-0 by host Korea four times but routed the Koreans 3-2 in another four home matches here. Only in 1996 did Indonesia lose 1-4 on home soil.

Earlier on Friday, Indonesian second singles player Andrian Raturandang managed to win one set before losing 1-6, 6-4, 2-6, 2-6 to Lee. Compatriot Suwandi failed to equalize, giving up to South Korean second singles Yoon 3-6, 6-7 (3-7), 2-6. The four players will see each other in indecisive reversed singles matches on Sunday.

In Bangkok, AFP reported that fire threatened to halt play in Thailand's Davis Cup Asia Oceania Zone tie as the host nation condemned China to a play-off against Indonesia to keep its place in group one of the regional competition.

Flames and smoke from a grass fire just a few meters from the stands briefly held up play as spectators were urged to move their cars parked nearby.

But play continued as volunteers and firefighters battled the blaze, and Thai duo Narathon Srichaphan and 30-year old Vittaya Samrej rallied from a disastrous start to overcome Chinese Zhang Yu and Xi Ran 3-6, 6-7, 6-0, 6-3, 6-2 in the doubles.

With victory already attained in Friday's two singles matches, the win gave Thailand an insurmountable 3-0 lead in the best of five match series. It retains its place in group one in the region for 2002.

In Tokyo, doubles stars Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi put India within one match of a play-off for a place in the Davis Cup World Group with a hard fought victory here on Saturday.

Their win put India 2-1 ahead against Japan but they were forced to come back from two sets to one down to secure the crucial edge.

The former world number one doubles team came up against spirited resistance from Japan's Takao Suzuki and Thomas Shimada.

But they prevailed in the last two sets for a 6-4, 3-6, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory at the Ariake Coliseum center court, where the pair won the Japan Open in October.

In Invercargill, New Zealand, James Greenhalgh and Alistair Hunt gave New Zealand a 2-1 lead in the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania tennis qualifier against Uzbekistan on Saturday, beating Oleg Ogorodov and Dmitri Tomasevich 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. (ivy)