Tennis is mostly an individual sport. Men and women competitors play for themselves, their own glory. Davis Cup provides the opportunity to play for their respective countries.
In a total of seven encounters between the two nations at Davis Cup, India leads with 4 wins and 3 losses. India’s wins have all come in the 21st century and they would like to extend their unbeaten run against the Kiwis in their Davis Cup clash at Christchurch. The Asia/Oceania group one finals will be played from 17-19 July 2015. The reward for the winner of the tie is taking part in the World Group playoffs against potential opponents United States, Switzerland or Germany.
New Zealand goes all out, while India is without Paes
New Zealand team comprises of Jose Statham, Michael Venus, Marcus Daniell and Artem Sitak. All four have achieved significant results over the past few months since they beat Chinese Taipei in March. On the other hand, India will be without its most experienced player Leander Paes in the Davis Cup tie. India is set to field Somdev Devvarman, Yuki Bhambri, Rohan Bopanna and Saketh Myneni (replaces Leander Paes in the line-up).
Davis cup: singles round
India’s Somdev Devvarman will kick start the event against Jose Statham, who is ranked at almost double that of the Indian. Somdev will look to open the scoring for India with a win but given the recent form of his opponent, the win might not come that easy for the Indian. In the second game, it will be India’s top ranked player Yuki Bhambri against Michael Venus, who is ranked 562 in singles.
India is set to have a tough game in the doubles with new entrant Saketh Myneni tagged with Rohan Bopanna. It will be interesting to see how the newly formed pair performs in their first outing together against the seasoned Kiwis Marcus Daniell and Artem Sitak.
India would dearly miss stalwart Leander Paes in the doubles, who opted out of the Davis Cup tie citing prior commitments.
In the fourth game Yuki Bhambri would go up against Rubin Statham and could seal the fate of Davis Cup Round 2 in favour of the Indian side if not already achieved in the doubles. And, the final match between the two nations will be played between Somdev Devvarman against a not so in-form singles player Michael Venus.
Prediction: A comfortable win for India in Davis Cup Round 2
On paper, India would appear as clear favourites. But, the cold playing conditions might cause trouble for Somdev and Company.
India need to win both the singles events on day 1 to ensure victory, as another win in the reverse fixture might not be too difficult to come by, as Kiwi players are not at par with their Indian counterparts in singles. The doubles event might be a tough match for both sides, as the newly paired Indians would aim to win against the seasoned Kiwis both placed in top 100 in doubles rankings.
If India succeeds in winning the doubles encounter, we could all be set for a repeat of the 2012 Davis Cup ties, where India demolished New Zealand 5-0. But, this time playing away from home, a five nil whitewash is easier said than done.
But, a more realistic prediction would be 4-1 in favour of the Indian team with a Yuki Bhambri win in reverse singles.