Leander Paes bettered his own Davis Cup record by winning his 44th doubles match along with debutant Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan as India took an unassailable 3-0 lead against Pakistan with victory in the third rubber, here on Saturday.
Pakistan teenagers Mohammed Shoaib and Hufaiza Abdul Rehman were no match for the Indian combination of battle-hardened Paes and Jeevan, who needed just 53 minutes to win 6-1, 6-3.
Hufaiza and Shoaib began with a hold of serve in the opening game but the Indian pair broke the teenagers in the third game before holding their own for a 3-1 lead.
Paes and Jeevan then took control of the match with another break of serve in the fifth game. Jeevan served a double fault at 30-15 but that didn't deter India from zooming to a 5-1 lead.
Serving to stay in the set, Shoaib was down 0-40, giving India three chances to close the opening set. Paes and Jeevan grabbed the second.
The Indians had a few chances to break their rivals early in the second set but the Pakistani duo held its nerves. There was some fight in the second set, which was locked at 3-3.
Paes and Jeevan got a break in the eighth game to take a 5-3 lead and the former served out the match in the next.
Paes last year became the most successful doubles player in the history of Davis Cup when he won his 43rd doubles match, surpassing Italian great Nicola Pietrangeli against China.
Paes had taken 56 ties for his 43rd win while Pietrangeli competed in 66 ties and won 42 doubles matches. Paes’ record of 44 wins is unlikely to be broken anytime soon since none of the active doubles players — except Paes — feature in the top-10 list. Belarusian Max Mirnyi, at number three, has 36 wins but has not played on Tour since 2018.
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