Tennis: Thailand, Kuwait deadlocked

Tennis: Thailand, Kuwait deadlocked

Doubles today crucial after teams split singles honours on opening day

Thailand were tied with visitors Kuwait 1-1 on the opening day of their Davis Cup Zone Asia/Oceania Group II second-round tie at the LTAT National Tennis Centre yesterday.

Pruchya Itsarow drew first blood for Thailand after he outclassed Kuwaiti junior player Abdulhameed al-Shatti 6-0 6-0 6-0 in the opening rubber, which was over in just 78 minutes.

The Thai No 1 player from Hat Yai showed his superior game in all aspects to beat the error-prone teenager in the scorching heat.

But veteran Mohammad Ghareeb fought back to level the tie for Kuwait after he beat Thai No 2 Wishaya Trongcharoenchaikul in a rain-interrupted second rubber 3-6 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-4) 3-6 7-5 after a four-hour tussle.

"I didn't expect to win the match this easily. He was unable to adjust to the surface and made way

too many unforced errors," said Pruchya, a senior student from Saengthong Wittaya School.

"I was playing well, serving well and returned the ball well. I'm quite confident in my game and I expect to win the doubles on Saturday, too," said Pruchya, who teams up with Nuttanon Kadchapanan in the doubles.

Wishaya, despite being overwhelmed with errors, took the first set 6-3 after wasting six set points. After an approximate two-hour rain suspension with the score at 2-1, Ghareeb fought back from a break down and from set point at 5-6 in the tie-break to level scores at a set each.

The third set went with serves until the tie-break. The 33-year-old Ghareeb won five straight points from 2-4 to take the third set and a 2-1 set lead, thanks to mistakes from the hot-tempered teenager.

The 18-year-old Wishaya appeared to be down, as he requested a trainer to heal his left hamstring during the changeover at 1-2 in the fourth set.

But the towering Thai raised the level of his game to break serve twice to force the fourth set.

In the decisive set, the Kuwaiti veteran attacked Wishaya's second serves with fierce returns, and broke away for a 6-5 lead. He closed out the match 7-5 after an over-four-hour tussle.

Today, the Thai doubles team of Pruchya and Nuttanon Kadchapanan will be up against Ghareeb and Hassan al-Mousa, which can be seen live on Truesport 5 from 1pm onwards.

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