Sun, Sep 18, 2016 - Page 12 News List

Taiwanese face two must-win matches in Thailand

By Dave Carroll  /  Staff reporter, with AFP and AP

Japan’s Kei Nishikori, front, returns as Yuichi Sugita waits in their Davis Cup doubles match against Ukraine in Osaka, Japan, yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Taiwan need to win both their reverse singles rubbers today to win their Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group II promotion playoff with Thailand after the hosts won yesterday’s doubles rubber to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five match.

Twins Sanchai and Sonchat Ratiwatana completed a 7-5, 6-2, 7-6 (7/4) victory over Taiwanese duo Hung Jui-chen and Wang Chieh-fu in 2 hours, 13 minutes yesterday to give the hosts a 2-1 advantage at the National Tennis Development Center in Nonthaburi, Thailand.

The Ratiwatana twins saved just one of five break points, but converted seven of 14, winning 105 of the 196 points contested to put Thailand on the brink of a spot in next year’s Asia-Oceania Group I ahead of today’s matches.

On Friday, Kittiphong Wachiramanowong handed the hosts the lead with a surprise 7-6 (8/6), 6-4, 6-1 victory over Taiwanese world No. 447 Yang Tsung-hua in the first singles rubber, before Taiwan hit back through world No. 504 Lee Kuan-yi, who was leading 7-6 (7/3), 5-0 in the second when his opponent, Pruchya Isarow, was forced to retire.

The visitors will need both Yang and Lee to be at their best today to gain promotion.

In Christchurch, New Zealand, the hosts took an unassailable lead over Pakistan to retain their berth in Group I when Michael Venus and Marcus Daniell won their doubles in straight sets.

Venus and Daniell beat Aqeel Khan and Mohammad Abid Ali Khan Akbar 6-0, 6-1, 6-2 to give New Zealand a 3-0 lead after Jose Statham and Finn Tearney won the opening singles on Friday, also in straight sets.

In Sydney, John Peers and Sam Groth clinched the World Group play-off tie for Australia with a doubles win over Slovakia.

Peers and Groth were taken to four sets by the Slovak pair of Andrej Martin and Igor Zelenay after holding a match point at 5-2 in the third set.

The duo went on to secure Australia’s World Group status 3-0 in next year’s Davis Cup competition with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (3/7), 7-6 (7/2) victory in 2 hours, 21 minutes.

In Tokyo, Kei Nishikori and Yuichi Sugita beat Artem Smirnov and Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-3, 6-0, 6-3 as Japan won their World Group playoff 3-0 against Ukraine.

Ukraine were bidding for their first appearance in the World Group, but will remain in the Europe/Africa Zone Group I next year.

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