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Lee-Hesh Magic Makes It 1-2

Chennai, Sep 18 : Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi recorded their 24th consecutive Davis Cup doubles win to keep India afloat in the World Group play-off tie against Brazil, reducing the margin of the tie
PTI September 18, 2010 21:21 IST
PTI
Chennai, Sep 18 : Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi recorded their 24th consecutive Davis Cup doubles win to keep India afloat in the World Group play-off tie against Brazil, reducing the margin of the tie to 1-2 on Saturday. The 'Indian Express' faced some stiff competition from the Brazilian pair before prevailing 6-4 7-6(5) 6-1 in two hours and 19 minutes in the doubles rubber.

The Indian pair saved four set points after trailing 1-4 in the tie-break of the second set to take a comfortable 2-0 lead before racing away for a win. Paes, who completed 20 years in Davis Cup, served out the match for India.

India came to the doubles rubber after heart-breaking singles defeats of Rohan Bopanna and Somdev Devvarman, who lost close matches yesterday. Now Bopanna and Somdev will have to win both the reverse singles tomorrow's if India are to advance to the World Group.

Somdev will play the first reverse singles against world number 27 Thomaz Bellucci and Bopanna will take on 75th-ranked Ricardo Mello.

India had made the elite World Group after 11 years after beating South Africa in an away tie last year, but lost in the first round to Russia to be relegated to the play-off competition. If the hosts players fail to win both the matches, India will be back to Asia/Oceania Zone Group I.

Brazil have not entered the World Group since 2003 and have failed to clear the play-off hurdle in the last few attempts. Paes and Bhupathi, despite not playing together on the ATP circuit, were as good a force as they were before separating and were on top of their game today.

The Brazilians were a little slow off the blocks but gradually got their rhythm and played tough tennis barring the lop-sided third set. PTI