Korea beat New Zealand 3-1 in Davis Cup
The Korea Republic have beaten New Zealand 3-1 in the Davis Cup World Group 1 tie at the International Tennis Hall of Fame at Newport in Rhode Island.
Tokyo Olympic bronze medalists Michael Venus and Marcus Daniell gave New Zealand a glimmer of hope with a hard-fought victory in the doubles rubber. But Korean number one Kwon Soonwoo proved too strong for Rubin Statham in the first of the reverse singles rubbers to give Korea an unassailable 3-1 lead.
The world number 83 won 6-3 6-3 underlying his class from the baseline, coming from 3-2 down in the first set, rattling off the next four games to take the set.
Kwon broke Statham in his second service game of the second set for a 3-1 lead before Statham with a couple of stinging returns broke for the first time in the match.
However, a couple of loose points on serve in the next game handed the break straight back to the Korean number one. Statham had another break point chance in the next game, but Kwon held serve and went on to close out the match.
Earlier Michael Venus and Marcus Daniell overcame a sluggish start to beat the Korean pair of Nam Ji-Sung and Song Min-kyu 4-6,6-2,6-4 in 1 hour 45 and get New Zealand on the board.
Daniell served for the match at 5-3 in the deciding set but was broken with a double fault. However, he made amends in the next game at 30-40, sending a wonderful backhand return of serve winner down the line to win the match.
Korea advance to the qualifiers next February while New Zealand will go to the World Group 1 playoffs.