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Lee-Hesh win, give India 2-1 lead

March 07, 2009 17:44 IST

Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi quelled a late challenge from Tsung-Hua Yang and Chu-Huan Yi to carve out a hard fought 6-4, 7-6, 6-7, 6-2 win in the doubles rubber of the second round Davis Cup tie against Chinese Taipei to hand India a 2-1 advantage in Kaohsiung on Saturday.

Paes-Bhupathi were cruising along comfortably after winning the first two sets but the Taipei pair surprised them with their never-say-die spirit as they upset the multiple Grand slam winners in the third set.

The Indians saved six set points and stretched the third set to tie-breaker but both Paes and Bhuapthi double faulted at crucial junctures to lose the set.

The Indian pair was down 1-5 as the immensely talented Taipei players broke them twice -- third and fifth games -- but the visitors raised their game a few notches, won five games on the trot to make it 6-5.

Stunned by a brilliant fightback of the home players, who are ranked as low as 498 and 700, the Indian pair then stepped on the accelerator and rode on a double break to win the fourth set and seal the issue.

Yet Chinese players, especially left-hander Yi, made a statement by pushing one of the best in the business to limits in a battle that lasted three and a half hours at Yang Ming tennis centre.

After this victory, India need to win one of the two reverse singles on Sunday to advance to the third round of the Asia/Oceania Group I competition. 

Somdev Devvarman, who won the first singles for India, is up against a tough customer in Yen-Hsun Lu and considering Lu's form, it will be an uphill task for the Indian to beat the world number 59. 

Rohan Bopanna, who will play the second reverse singles against Ti Chen, may have to pull it off for India in the deciding fifth rubber.

In Saturday's doubles match, the multiple-Grand Slam winning Indian pair began in style by breaking their rivals in the very first game of the match but were soon facing breakpoints in the sixth game as Bhupathi struggled with his first serve. 

A double fault and a forehand error by Bhupathi handed two breakpoints to the host players but the Indian, who in exasperation hit the ball with his foot, bettered his effort and ensured India do not lose the advantage.

India had chances to quickly wrap up the first set in the ninth game but the fighting Taipei pair saved two set points. 

However, they could not stop the Indians in the next game as Bhupathi served out the set to take a 1-0 lead.

A volley error by Yi gave India a break point in the first game of the second set but the left-hander served extremely well to escape unscathed. 

Paes hit past Yi a forehand winner to earn three breakpoints and converted second the one when he hit a stunning return off Yang's serve in the third game. 

Indians were cruising along easily at 4-2 but a drop of serve in the eighth game turned the second set into an intense battle, much to the delight of drum beating home crowd. 

However, the seasoned Indian pair stretched the set to the tie-breaker and blanked the hosts 7-0 to go two set up.

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