Veteran Leander Paes bettered his own Davis Cup record by winning his 44th doubles match, this time partnering debutant Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, as India blanked Pakistan 4-0 to earn a spot in the 2020 Qualifiers.
Pakistani teenagers Mohammed Shoaib and Hufaiza Abdul Rehman were no match for the Indian combination of the battle-hardened Paes and Jeevan, who needed just 53 minutes to win 6-1 6-3. Last year, Paes became the most successful doubles player in the history of Davis Cup when he won his 43rd match, surpassing Italian great Nicola Pietrangeli during the tie against China.
The 46-year-old had taken 56 ties for his 43rd win while Pietrangeli competed in 66 ties for his 42 victories. “It was fabulous playing with Jeevan in his first Davis Cup match. Right from the beginning he did everything right. It was being about staying solid today. Jeevan has a big heart, he loves to play for flag. I am proud to share the court with him,” said Paes.
“These guys keep me young, fresh and vibrant. They bring out the best in me. We have got a great mix of different generations and different age groups. It’s lot of fun to be back to playing for India again,” added the winner of 18 Grand Slam titles.
His record of 44 wins in 57 ties is unlikely to be broken anytime soon as except him, none of the active doubles players feature in the top-10 list. Belarusian Max Mirnyi, at number three, has 36 wins but has not played on Tour since 2018.
In the reverse singles, Sumit Nagal trounced Yousaf Khalil 6-1 6-0 for his second straight win. Both the sides opted not to play the dead fifth rubber. The fourth rubber is played even if the outcome of the tie is decided after the first three matches but the rules permit teams to skip playing the dead fifth rubber.