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Bad Light Stops Play At Davis Cup

A late start to the doubles match in the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Zone Group semifinal tie between India and New Zealand at the Renouf Tennis Centre in Wellington saw an early finish thanks to bad light. India lead by two sets to love after persistent rain kept players waiting most of the day.

Umpire John Blom called a close to play as evening fell after a delay of four hours due to rain. Starting at 5pm with the experienced team of Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes against the scratch pairing for New Zealand of James Shortall and Dan Willman both teams kept a fast pace with the two sets lasting 28 and 27 minutes.

The Indians go into the break at 6/4 6/3 ahead in the best of five sets match. The overall score in the tie is one match a piece after the teams finished the singles on the first day with a win each.

In the first set of the doubles games went with serve until Willman was broken in the 10th game. In an aggressive match in front of a solid crowd considering the cold conditions both combinations found themselves at net at the same time with well placed shots.

The blustery conditions in Wellington saw Leander Paes play in the leggings he wore yesterday while Bhupathi was dressed in his tracksuit. The second set was played under fading light and went with serve until Willman was broken for the second time in the match, this time in the eighth game to give the Indian's a 5/3 lead. Bhupathi served for the match and was taken to duece by the Kiwi's who were unable to take the advantage.

"It was getting a little hard to see out there. They (Dan and James) started well coming out and Dan returned really well, but James was a little slow to start. It was a good time to get off the court. The Indians would have liked to to finish it for sure. It means Leander has to mentally prepare for two matches tomorrow," said Kiwi captain Glenn Wilson.

At the completion of the second set Australian referee Peter Bellenger called a stop to the match. When asked if he agreed with coming off the court at that time Indian captain Ramesh Krishnan showed no major concern and still appeared confident that Paes can win for the side.

"The referee's decision is binding. We have no problems. I think we would have stayed on if given the choice. Leander will be okay for both matches,"

said Krishnan. Play will resume at 9.40am on Sunday morning with the completion of the doubles match, followed by the first of the reverse singles between Paes and Kiwi number one Mark Nielsen. The fifth and final singles match between Alistair Hunt and Harsh Mankad will be played if necessary and if weather permits on Sunday afternoon.

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