Taiwan struggle on first day of Davis Cup clash

MOUNTAIN TO CLIMB::The omens in Kaohsiung are not good for the hosts, with Australia having won all three previous Davis Cup clashes between the two countries

By Tony Phillips  /  Staff reporter, with AFP, NEW DELHI

Sat, Feb 02, 2013 - Page 20

Taiwan must win today’s doubles to avoid defeat in their Davis Cup tie against Australia after the visitors won both of yesterday’s singles rubbers in Kaohsiung.

Former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt beat Yang Tsung-hua 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in the day’s first encounter, before Matthew Ebden defeated Chen Ti 6-3, 6-4, 7-5.

Hewitt is due to team up with Chris Guccione for the doubles against Lee Hsin-han and Peng Hsien-yin.

Both team’s are missing their top-ranked players, with Taiwan having to do without world No. 72 Lu Yen-hsun, while Australia team captain Pat Rafter left out Bernard Tomic after criticizing the 20-year-old’s attitude.

Australia have won all three of their previous Davis Cup clashes against Taiwan, the last a 5-0 whitewash in Melbourne in 2010, which Yang and Lee played in.

Hewitt and Guccione played in a tie in Kaohsiung in 2008 as did Chen and Yang, Chen beating doubles specialist Paul Hanley 7-6 (7/3), 6-1 in a dead rubber in a 1-4 defeat.

In another Asia/Oceania Group 1 tie yesterday, South Korea easily won the opening singles matches against a new-look India to take a commanding lead in New Delhi.

Cho Min-hyeok gave the South Koreans a flying start by beating the 511-ranked Virali-Murugesan Ranjeet 6-1, 6-0, 6-1 in the first match.

Jeong Suk-Young, the top-ranked player in the tie at 321, then built on the advantage as Vijayant Malik, the second debutant in the Indian side, retired in the third set due to leg cramps, handing Jeong a 6-4, 7-5, 3-0 victory.

India entered the tie with doubles specialist Leander Paes as the only first-choice player after 11 teammates refused to play following a dispute with the All-India Tennis Association

In yesterday’s other Asia/Oceania Group 1 matches, Uzbekistan lead China 2-0 in Namangan and Japan lead by the same scoreline against Indonesia in Tokyo.