New Zealand win Davis Cup tie against Venezuela
New Zealand have advanced to a Group One Davis Cup tie in September after stalwart Rubin Statham clinched a 3-1 win over Venezuela in the playoff tie in Auckland.
The 32-year-old Kiwi is the most experienced New Zealand Davis Cup player and stepping in for Ajeet Rai who played the opening day singles.
Statham prevailed over an ailing 20-year-old Brandon Perez who called a media time out at 1-2 in the third set and appeared hampered by cramp. He was broken to love in the next game after serving three double faults. Statham held to love and trailing 1-4 Perez collapsed on the court and couldn’t continue.
Statham clinched the tie with a 6-2 6-7 (3) 4-1 win 2 hours 04 minutes.
Statham was playing his first competitive match in a year having been out of action with a hip injury, but you wouldn’t have known it as he raced through the first set with two breaks of serve.
However, left-handed Perez found his range in the second and created a break point on Statham’s serve in the 8th game
Earlier ATP doubles stars Artem Sitak and Marcus Daniell put New Zealand 2-1 up with a 6-3 7-6 (3) win over Jordi Munoz and Luis David Martinez.
In a tight second set Daniell faced a set point against his serve at 4-5 30-40. He took a gamble with a big second serve ace and held.
The set and match was decided in a tiebreak. Munoz netted a forehand to give Daniell and Sitak the min break at 3-1 and Daniell then made a forehand pass to put the Kiwis in control. At 4-2 Sitak made a brilliant pick up half volley and Daniell volleyed away the winner and they went on to close out the tie break 7-3.
The team's decided not to play the dead 5th rubber between Finn Tearney and Martinez.
The tie marked the 100th anniversary of the first Davis Cup tie to be held in NZ between Australasia and the United States.