The Indian Davis Cup team capped a historic visit to Pakistan after 60 years by sealing their place in World Group I as they blanked Pakistan 4-0 with Yuki Bhambri and Saketh Myneni recording a comfortable victory and Niki Poonacha making a winning debut, in Islamabad on Sunday.
Taking the court with a 2-0 lead in the pocket, Bhambri and Myneni subdued the home team of Muzammil Murtaza and Aqeel Khan 6-2, 7-6 (5) in the doubles rubber to extend India’s dominance of Pakistan in the tournament.
Aqeel replaced Barkat Ullah in the side. The idea was to have an experienced player for the do-or-die match, the defeat in which would have clinched India the tie.
However, Bhambri and big-serving Myneni did not put a foot wrong in the match in which they were not troubled by their rivals much. The gulf in quality in the two teams was apparent.
Myneni’s big serves were too hot to handle for the home team. Myneni hardly lost a point on his serve and was also superb at the net also.
The Indian players’ returns were also better as several times Bhambri sent down winners between the two Pakistani players. The 28-year-old Poonacha was then asked to play the dead fourth rubber against Muhammad Shoaib, who he beat 6-3 6-4. The fifth match was not played.