New Delhi, Feb 2 (IANS) Leander Paes and rookie Purav Raja pulled off a stunning win in the doubles against South Korea as India made it 1-2 on the second day of the Asia/Oceania Group I first round tie here Saturday.
Paes and Raja beat Lim Yong-Kyu and Nam Ji Sung 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, in an engrossing encounter that lasted nearly two and a half hours at the R.K. Khanna Tennis Stadium Complex.
Stunned by embarrassing defeats in the singles on the first day, the Indian pair, who were playing together for the first time, brought out their best game in front of a sizeable crowd.
The experience of Paes and the exuberance of Raja raised hopes of a great comeback in the reverse singles slated for Sunday.
Paes and Raja came out firing all cylinders right from the first game and never allowed the Koreans to dominate. They gelled well and Raja was impressive with both his serve and net play.
In fact, the first set the tone of the match. The Koreans were soon up 4-5. But Paes and Raja were in no mood to give up. What followed next was an exciting see-saw battle and in the end the Indians saved three game points to take a 1-0 lead.
The second set was a thrilling affair with neither team willing to give an inch. Though the Koreans were blanked out the first game they they showed great spirit in levelling the set at 2-2 and then nosed ahead to make it 4-2.
Two breaks down, the Paes and Raja combine hit some excellent shots to take a 5-4 lead. But the Koreans refused to give in and momentary lapse in form by the Indians helped them win the next two games and make it 6-5.
But Paes showed his class and hit some fine winners of his own serve to stretch the set into tie-breakers. The Indians were down in the tie-breaker as well, trailing 0-3.
But the Indian duo combined well to collect the next four points to bring India back into the game. The Koreans again made it 5-5, but Paes hit two winners as India went up 2-0.
In the third, Paes and Raja showed their true class. They dictated terms as Lim and Nam were left searching for answers. Paes celebrated with his customary chest-bump with Raja, who went ecstatic as he won his maiden Davis Cup encounter.