New Zealand wins Davis Cup tie against Thailand

Saturday, 16 September 2023

The New Zealand Davis Cup team is back in the winner’s circle and will progress to the World Group I play-offs after convincingly beating Thailand in Invercargill this weekend.

New Zealand won the first three matches in straight sets at ILT Stadium Southland, securing the tie in front of a strong home crowd. Thailand then won the last singles match.

“Everybody played well,” New Zealand Team Captain Kelly Evernden said.

“I think we’ve gelled as a team and the effort load was there in the practices, they’re taking it seriously and it’s paying off … the focus was a lot better this time, everybody was really focused on what the goal was, and the goal was to win and it happened.”

Evernden praised the veterans of the New Zealand team for showing the way this weekend and the younger players for stepping up.

Rubin Statham has played more Davis Cup ties than any other player in New Zealand history and on Friday he broke another record, winning his 31st Davis Cup match.

The 36-year-old put the Kiwis 1-0 up on Friday afternoon when he beat Thailand’s Kasidit Samrej 6-2, 7-6(8).

“Obviously it’s been many years playing Davis Cup and a goal of mine to get the most wins for New Zealand and so it was a special feeling doing that yesterday,” Statham said.

“The team atmosphere’s been really great this week and we’ve all really enjoyed it.”

Ajeet Rai made it two from two on Friday evening when he overcame Thailand's Maximus Jones 6-1, 6-3 in the second singles match.

The New Zealand doubles pairing of Artem Sitak and Finn Reynolds then wrapped it all up on Saturday, beating Pruchya Isaro and Wishaya Trongcharoenchaikul 6-4, 6-2.

Sitak has played in 21 Davis Cup ties since 2011 and said it was “very important” for New Zealand to win this tie against Thailand.

“Every win is just excellent, such a good feeling,” the 37-year-old said.

“We are playing our best tennis right now, all of us, and that feels great.”

Isaac Becroft played the last singles match on Saturday afternoon against Maximus Jones.

Becroft lost the first set but fought back, winning the second and forcing a deciding match tie-break.

He would eventually go down 3-6, 6-3, 8-10.

The Kiwis will now turn their attention to ​​the World Group I play-offs in February. 

The draw to decide the opponent and host country will be held next week.

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