NEW DELHI: National champion Leander Pacs Sunday carved out a remarkable victory over South Korean Jie Seoung-Ho to put India in the world zone qualifying round of the Davis Cup.
Pacs a month short of 18, did the star-turn for his team in demolishing Jie 7-6 (7-5), 6-3, 6-2 in little over two hours in the second reverse singles which gave India a 3-2 victory in the Asia/Oceania zone Davic Cup second round tic. The shock defeat of Indian touch artiste Ramesh Krishnan at the hands of Chang Eui-Jons, ranked some two hundred places below him in the world, in the first reverse singles earlier, nearly blew the Indian hopes of staking their claim for a berth in the elite world zone.
Krishnan, ranked 90 on the ATP computer, failed to press home a five-break points advantage in the decider after leading 4-3 in the fifth set, in a match that lasted 190 minutes under soaring temperature.
Paes the teenager from Calcutta, stepped onto the Delhi Lawn Tennis association main court and marched towards victory in his usual aggressive and exuberant way.
India will now meet one of the eight teams that lost in the first round of the world zone this year in the qualifying round to be held from September 20 to 22.
Mexico, Canada, New Zealand, Italy, Sweden, Austria, Israel and Belgium are the eight teams that lost in the opening round.
After gauging the strength of Jie, who took a set off Krishnan in the opening singles on Friday, Paes found his rhythem early in the match.
The first set went with serve although Jie, ranked 443 in the world, had to save a break point in the sixth game during which he was penalised for foot fault.
Paes came up with amazing returns chasing the ball from far comers of the court to convert them into winners.
Jie, who had problem with his first serve thumped three of his four aces in the first set including once to lead 4-3 in the tie-break.
Paes serving 3-4, took three points in a row including one off Jie’s serve who was caught on the wrong-foot when Paes slid across the baseline for a forehand down the line return. The Indian clinched the issue serving for the set as Jie promptly drove a return wide.
It was the second set that Paes found himself in trouble against the left-handed Jie. The Indian fired three aces and saved three break points in the second game of the set and then broke Jie on the next.
In the third game of the second set, a forehand topspin lob leveled the score and after Jie rallied thrice to save break-point. He committed his fourth double fault to enable Paes take a 2-1 lead.
The games went with serve till the ninth served by Jie who came on par after trailing 30-40. Once again a double fault, his sixth, gave India the advantage and Paes soon converted it with a good return from the one comer of the courth which passed Jie at the other end,
With two sets in the crucial match behind him, Paes’ confidence grew and he kept peppering the court with winners from all angles.
In the third set, games went with serve till the fifth in which Paes banged his sixth and final ace of the match to hold serve.
He consolidated the advantage in the sixth and was helped by Jie who serving the sixth game committed a double fault, for the seventh time in the match.
Backed by the vociferous home crowd, Paes went charging to hold his serve with a fierce smash.
Jie, serving to save the set and tic, led 40-30 but two backhand returns gave India the advantage. Jie saved once but his eighth double fault proved decisive. A net-skimming return by Paes and backhand cross court completed the set, match and tie in favor of India.
Article extracted from this publication >> May 10, 1991