Taiwan's Davis Cup future remained undecided yesterday after doubles pair Chen Ti (陳迪) and Yi Chu-huan (
The defeat means Taiwan must win at least one of today's two reverse singles at the National Taiwan University Sports Center to retain its place in Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group 1.
Yesterday's encounter between two pairs -- with each duo containing a right-hander and a left-hander -- began with a hard-fought first set with no breaks of service until the deciding tie-break. Chen and Yi saved three set points before Yi, 19, could only send a return from an impressive Yu second serve high and wide to hand China the tie-break at 9-7.
The second set was also close until, with Taiwan leading 5-4, Yu double-faulted and then sent a volley into the net to leave China trailing 0-30. The Chinese duo battled back to 30-30 before a return from the Taiwanese pair clipped the top of the net and dropped onto the court, giving them a set point which they duly took.
The third set began dramatically when Yu was felled by a hard smash by Chen in the first game.
A considerable delay followed as the Chinese left-hander was forced to leave the court for treatment. After that early drama, the set followed a pattern similar to the previous two until Yi's serve was broken at 5-5, leaving Yu to serve for the set.
At 40-0, the Chinese left-hander put a forehand volley into the net, but on the next point Chen netted a backhand return to lose the set.
The fourth set proved to be the least even of the contest. The Chinese pair broke Yi in the third game, which left Chen serving to keep Taiwan in the match in the ninth game. Fighting back from 30-0 down, the Chinese won the next three points to reach match point. Chen then sent a volley into the net to condemn Taiwan to defeat.
There was little margin for error in a tight encounter in which a few important points proved crucial to the final result. Taiwanese tennis fans can take some consolation from the impressive serving and solid all-round play of Chen and Yi.
In today's first reverse singles Yu is scheduled to meet Taiwan's Lu Yen-hsun (
The first encounter involves the top-ranked singles player in each team, but a look at the rankings suggests that Lu will be favored.
Jimmy Wang (