Christchurch: Somdev Devvarman delivered when it mattered as he tamed Marcus Daniell in straight sets to level the Asia/Oceania Davis Cup tie against New Zealand 2-2, here on Sunday.
Somdev prevailed over Daniell 6-4 6-4 6-4 in the first of the two reverse singles in two hours and 18 minutes to keep India in hunt.
Daniell replaced Jose Statham, who was down with a flu but could not help his side seal the tie.
Now Yuki Bhambri will clash with Michael Venus and the outcome of the fifth rubber will decide the fate of the two teams as the winner will advance to World Group Play-offs and the loser will strive to remain in Group I.
Yuki will play only his second Live fifth rubber. He had lost the deciding fifth rubber against Filip Krajinovic in September in Bangalore last year.
Somdev went about his business calmly today and made a perfect start to his match when he broke Daniell in the very first game of the opening set.
The advantage of that early break stayed with him throughout and he served out the set in the 10th. He thwarted Daniell’s attempt of a comeback by saving a break chance on his serve in the sixth game.
Daniell kept fighting hard, saving two break chances in the third game of the second set, which was on serve till eighth game. But Somdev found a way to get that elusive break in the ninth and converted his first set point in the next for a 2-0 lead in the crucial rubber.
The Kiwi was down by two break chances at the start of the third set but saved both. However, he double faulted when he was down by another break point in the fifth.
Somdev though let go the advantage by dropping his own in the next before cashing in on another chance in the ninth.
It was a matter of holding serve in the next which Somdev did to make it 2-2 for India.