6.15 pm IST: Sitak serves well and the Indians make a couple of unforced errors as the Kiwis make it 5-3 in the first set.
6.12 pm IST: Good play on net by Vishnu and first ace for Leander Paes, India hold serve to go up 5-2 in first set. Live tennis score continue here.
6.08 pm IST: A good return and a lucky ball off the net cord helps Leander-Vishnu earn two break points. And they convert the first to break Michael Venus’ serve. India up 4-2 in first set.
6.05 pm IST: Two aces by Vishnu and a superb volley by Paes at the net helps them win the game and make it 3-2 in first set. Games going with serve so far.
6.03 pm IST: The New Zealand combination hold serve at love to make it 2-2 in first set.
6.00 pm IST: Paes serves well and Vishnu looks sharp at the net. Paes holds serve, India lead 2-1 in first set.
5.58 pm IST: Artem Sitak holds serve and it is 1-1 in first set.
5.54 pm IST: Powerful serving by Vishnu, hits his first ace as India win the first game. 1-0 in first set.
5.50 pm IST: All set for the first game. India won the toss and Vishnu Vardhan to serve.
5.46 pm IST: India have won the toss and now the players will be knocking the ball for next five minutes to get a feel of the court.
5.42 om IST: Nana Patekar is the guest at the toss. He will be flipping the coin.
5.40 pm IST: Actor Nana Patekar makes an appearance before the toss. Shakes hands with the players and Anand Amritraj.
5.38 pm IST: The players walk on to the court with New Zealand first, followed by India’s doubles combinations. Time for the national anthems.
5.37 pm IST: This is the second outing for the pair of Artem Sitak and Michael Venus — Paes and Vardhan’s opponents — in Davis Cup. They had won their first match in the Asia/Oceania Group 1 quarterfinal against South Korea.
5.35 pm IST: The doubles teams have lined up for the match. The Indian singles players have already taken their seats courtside.
5.33 pm IST: An emotional Leander Paes is being felicitated for his contribution to Indian tennis.
5.28 pm IST: The organisers have felicitated Anand Amritraj for his contribution to Indian tennis. Amritraj was part of the team when Pune hosted the India v Russia Davis Cup tie 43 years ago.
5.24 pm IST: Paes and Vardhan had paired up for the London Olympics in 2012 but lost to second seeds Michael Llodra and Jo-Wilfred Tsonga of France in the second round.
The stands are filling up fast for India’s Davis Cup doubles match. (HT Photo)
5.18 pm IST: This is Leander Paes’ first match with Vishnu Vardhan in the Davis Cup.
5.16 pm IST: In the last decade, Paes has teamed up with Saketh Myneni, Rohan Bopanna, Sanam Singh, Purav Raja, Sunil Kumar Sepaeya and Vishal Uppal apart from Bhupathi of course.
5.14 pm IST: Since that tie in 1990, Paes has paired up with many partners but he was most successful with Mahesh Bhupathi.
5.11 pm IST: Paes made his debut in 1990 against South Korea. He paired with Zeeshan Ali for the doubles match which they lost 6-2, 0-6, 1-6, 6-3, 7-9. Paes also played a singles match in that tie and lost 6-7, 0-6 to Kim Bong-Soo as India lost 0-5.
The court was washed late on Friday night in preparation for India’s Davis Cup doubles match. (HT Photo)
5.09 pm IST: With India leading 2-0, the stage is set for the doubles match. This is Leander Paes’ 54th doubles match in Davis Cup. He has won 42 and lost 12.
5.05 pm IST: Welcome to HT’s coverage of the second day of India’s Group 1 Davis Cup tie against New Zealand in Pune. Follow live score and live updates here.
Considering the number of records he has set for India, Leander Paes’ name will remain etched in the annals of Indian tennis history for posterity. Leander Paes is the oldest male player to win a Grand Slam title. He has won a combined 18 Grand Slam titles in men’s doubles and mixed doubles and has achieved the rare men’s doubles/mixed doubles double at the 1999 Wimbledon tournament. He holds a career Grand Slam in men’s doubles and mixed doubles. Catch live tennis score and live updates of India vs New Zealand Asia-Oceania Group 1 tie here.
In Davis Cup, Leander Paes holds the record for playing most number of years (25) and has figured in the most number of ties for India (54).
On Saturday, during India’s Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group 1 tie against New Zealand, Paes will be going for another record – for most doubles wins. He is currently tied with Nicloa Pietrageli of Italy at 42 wins each. India lead 2-0 after Yuki Bhambri and Ramkumar Ramanathan won their singles rubbers on Friday.
Leander Paes (from left), Ramkumar Ramnathan and Vishnu Vardhan during the inaugural ceremony of the Davis Cup at Balewadi Stadium in Pune on Thursday. (PTI)
Leander Paes and his new partner Vishnu Vardhan will meet New Zealand’s Artem Sitak and Michael Venus in the doubles match at the Balewadi Sports Complex here.
As a subscript to the main plot, by winning the doubles encounter, Paes and Vishnu Vardhan will also seal an unassailable lead of 3-0 for India, and a place in the next round.
However, Paes and Vishnu face a tough encounter against a combination that though has not played much together but are individually ranked higher than the Indians. Venus ranked 36 while Sitak is 56. In comparison, Paes is at 64 and Vishnu at 338.
Great start by our two singles players @DavisCup ..Very proud of @yukibhambri and @ramkumar1994 Go India ?? #BleedBlue #LionHearts pic.twitter.com/CbuX1UqTUn— Leander Paes (@Leander) February 3, 2017
Also, Paes and Vishnu themselves have not played together since the 2012 London Olympics and did not get to practice a lot before this tie as Vishnu was called in as replacement on Friday when Saketh Myneni pulled out due to an injury.
Selection of doubles teams in Indian tennis, for any tournament, has been marred by controversy for the last many years as the three protagonists — Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna — have been at loggerheads.
They fought before the London Olympics over who will partner Bopanna, while Paes and Bopanna had a spat before and after the Rio Olympics last year.
The feeling in tennis circles here is that the selectors dropped Bopanna for the tie against New Zealand to allow Paes achieve his record with a partner of his choice and prepare ground for easing him out of the team considering his age and recent drop in rankings. However, Myneni’s injury has thrown a spanner in the works.
Will Leander Paes finally get the record that he most definitely deserves?