China yesterday surged into a 2-0 lead against Taiwan in their Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group I tie at the Yang-Ming Tennis Center in Kaohsiung, with both opening singles rubbers going to five sets.
In the first Davis Cup tie between the cross-strait neighbors since 2013, Li Zhe gave the visitors the lead with a 5-7, 7-5, 6-2, 6-7 (6/8), 7-5 victory over Chen Ti in the first singles rubber in 4 hours, 36 minutes.
World No. 265 Chen is the only member of the Taiwan team who played in their last victory over China 10 years ago in the Asia/Oceania Group I relegation playoff in 2007.
China got the better of Taiwan in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Li fired down 15 aces and converted 10 of 21 break points, winning 197 of the 374 points contested.
In the second singles rubber, Taiwanese world No. 168 Jason Jung retired in the fifth set with China’s Wu Yibing leading 6-1, 4-6, 5-7, 7-6 (11/9), 4-1 after 3 hours, 50 minutes.
Jung failed to convert two match-points in the fourth-set tiebreaker before running out of steam in the fifth set.
Wu fired down 12 aces and converted five of 19 break points, winning 181 of the 356 points contested to give the visitors a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five tie and put them on the brink of a promotion playoff against Kazakhstan on April 7 to April 9.
In the doubles rubber today, Taiwan’s Lee Kuan-yi and Peng Hsien-yin are scheduled to take on Li and Zhang Zhizhen.