Leander Paes was denied a chance to enter the record books as New Zealand’s Artem Sitak and Michael Venus prevailed over Paes and partner Vishnu Vardhan in the Davis Cup doubles rubber at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune on Saturday.
The win saw New Zealand keep the tie alive as they made it 2-1. Paes had entered the tie level with Nicloa Pietrageli of Italy with 42 doubles wins to his credit in the Davis Cup, the most in the tournament’s history.
Unfortunately for Paes, Sitak and Venus came from a set down to win 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(6), 6-3. India entered the day with a 2-0 lead over the visitors. But all eyes were on Paes, 43, who was looking to add another record to his glorious career.
The Indian pair began strong taking the first set without losing serve. In the second set though, the visitors fought hard to make it all square. It turned out to be the turning point as the kiwis rode on the momentum. The New Zealand pair took the third set in the tie-breaker 7-6(6) to take a two sets to one lead.
They cruised to victory in the fourth as the Indian pair seemed deflated after the New Zealand’s pair’s resurgence.
This was also Paes’ 54th doubles match in Davis Cup. He still holds the record for playing most number of years (25) in the tournament, but now also figures in the most number of ties for India (54).