Thailand are 2 up on Japan
Thailand raced to a 2-0 lead as Paradorn Srichaphan and Danai Udomchoke overcome the heat and won the first two rubbers in the Davis Cup Zone Asia/Oceania Qualifying Group I second-round tie at the Rama Gardens Hotel yesterday.
In front of 1,000 noisy fans and the sound of cymbals and drums, Paradorn lived up to the expectations of the crowd by producing superb tennis to subdue Japan's Gouichi Motomura 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 in two hours and 15 minutes.
But in a more exhilarating contest, Thai No-2 Danai Udomchoke gritted his teeth to claw back from two sets to one down to edge out the inspired Go Soeda 7-5 3-6 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-3 after four hours and 30 minutes. Upon hitting the winning point, an exhausted Danai collapsed on court and lay there for awhile.
"It was unbelievable to win this match. I didn't win just because of my ability but also by a miracle. I would like to dedicate this win to His Majesty the King,'' Danai said.
Temperatures had soared up to 39 degrees in the Paradorn-Motomura match but the Thai No-1 didn't falter. "It was a relief to win the first rubber because the weather was so hot out there. Luckily I am quite fit now,'' said Paradorn who now stands 4-3 in previous meetings against the 473rd-ranked Motomura.
Despite being used to the scorching heat, Paradorn admitted he had difficulties with it for a while.
"It was so hot during the first 15 minutes I wondered if I would be able to survive in these conditions. I was lucky to be able to win the second set, because I was pretty sure that with a 2-0 lead I could wrap up the match,'' added Paradorn
Thai captain Thanakorn Srichaphan said he knew that the tie with Japan wouldn't be easy.
"We achieved our target by winning the first two matches. I expected a tough fight from Japan because their players are some of the strongest in Asia," said Thanakorn, who was confident Thailand would win the doubles today.
Despite his low ranking at only 473, Motomura played well against the hard-hitting Paradorn in the early stages of the match. However Paradorn's superior ground strokes brought a break with a forehand winner at 4-3. He hammered three aces to finish the first set 6-4.
The two players held their serves in the second set, taking it to a tie-break. Paradorn's consistency was the deciding factor, taking the tie-break with one of his 16 aces on the day to wrap up the set.
Due to the heat, the players were permitted to have a 15-minute break before the third set. When play resumed Paradorn maintained his composure whereas Motomura faded away quickly and could win only one game. Danai won a seesaw battle in the first set 7-5 before losing the second 3-6.
The atmosphere became more thrilling as the two fought out long gruelling rallies in the third set. Soeda, after blowing two previous set points at 5-4, played very solidly to take the set 7-6 (7-4).
Danai clawed his way into the game by taking the fourth set 6-4 and proved the stronger in the decider, winning 6-3 thanks to a crucial break in the ninth game Today, Sonchat and Sanchai Ratiwatana face Satoshi Iwabuchi and Toshihide Matsui at 2pm, in a match that will be televised on UCB SuperSport.