New Zealand have started the Asia/Oceania Group II Davis Cup semifinal against Pakistan with a win as Kiwi No1 Rubin Statham defeated Pakistan No2 Aqeel Khan 6-4 6-0 6-0.
The match took one hour 54 minutes for Statham to complete the victory on the indoor courts at the TSB Hub in Hawera, Taranaki.
“At the start I came out a bit nervous playing within myself a bit too much. I then got the feel and gained in confidence. I then started playing really well. He’s a tricky player to play and can give you troubles. His style is not what you’re used to,” said Statham referring to the unorthodox right-handed Khan who hit forehands with two hands and backhands with one hand.
With a large number of long rallies in the first set Statham was forced to grind out points but was able to break his opponents serve in the first game of each set to gain the vital advantage.
“The court is kinda slow and sometimes hard to seal the point. But it suits me really well.”
The second singles match features the Kiwi No2 Michael Venus against Pakistan No1 Aisam Qureshi.