Thailand in driver's seat against Hong Kong after doubles win

Hosts Thailand are on the verge of moving into the second round of the Davis Cup Zone Asia/Oceania Group II with Pruchya Isarow and Nuttanon Kadchapanan winning the doubles for a 2-1 lead over Hong Kong at the Thanyapura Sports & Leisure Club in Phuket yesterday.

With the tie at 1-1 after Friday's singles, Pruchya and Nuttanon paired up to beat Phillip King and Chun Hun Wong 6-4 6-2 6-2. The Kingdom need just one more point from the two rubbers today.

Pruchya served a double fault to allow Hong Kong to go up a break at 2-0 before he managed to hit some stunning returns to break Wong's serves. Thailand went on to lead 4-2 and although the visitors fought back to 4-5, Pruchya served well and wrapped up the opener 6-4 with an ace.

In the second set, Thailand broke the visitors at the start to build a 2-0 lead and again in the seventh game to jump to 5-2. Thanks to an erratic backhand volley from Wong. Nuttanon then served out for the second set which ended when King returned a serve long.

In the third set, Pruchya managed a forehand down-the-line winner to break the opening game of Hong Kong. At 4-2, Nuttanon hit an impressive backhand down-the-line winner for the second break as Thailand went up 5-2. With two aces, Nuttanon held the following game to finish off the rubber 6-2.

In today's programme, Thai rising star Pruchya is set to play King in the first singles clash, which will be followed by the match between Nuttanon and Ognian Kolev. Truesport7 will broadcast the tie live from 10am.

Meanwhile in the US$10,000 ITF Thailand Women's Circuit, Nudnida Luangnam upset Chinese fifth seed Xin Wen 6-3 6-4 to claim her first trophy this year at the LTAT National Tennis Complex yesterday.

Halep downs Errani

Simona Halep again proved herself the most exciting new young star on the WTA circuit as she rode the storm which has blown away so many of the seeds at the Qatar Open.

Halep, a 22-year-old Romanian who was voted WTA Tour newcomer of the year, needed less than an hour to overwhelm the fourth-seeded Sara Errani, and allowed one of the tour's gamest fighters only two games as she hurtled into the semi-finals.

"Actually I could not run very well because I have an injury," Halep said to a mixture of amazement and amusement after her 6-2 6-0 success.

"So I just wanted to be aggressive and finish the points as soon as I can."