Bangalore: The only hiccup was when Leander Paes dropped his serve once, but the veteran guided his partner Sanam Singh led India to a 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 win over Indonesian pair David Agung Susanto and Elbert Sie as the hosts took an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group I relegation play-off here on Saturday.
While the Indian victory was a foregone conclusion and was achieved in just 81 minutes, the only point of interest was whether the unheralded Indonesian combo would be able to stretch their opponents, and they did not come even close to it. After India won the two singles matches Friday, the pressure was squarely on the Indonesians, who eventually gave in, more to their own inexperience than any ingenuity on part of the Indian pair.
Paes, 39, playing his 50th Davis Cup tie and in his 23rd year at this level, was undoubtedly the star of the match with his brilliant netplay marked by quick hands while 25-year old Sanam, a comparative newcomer, excelled from the back court with some searing winners, though at times, his inexperience was exposed. As for the Indonesians, Susanto proved to be the weak link. He held serve just once in the entire match while Sie was never short on enthusiasm, and all but played a lone hand for his team.
Susanto was broken twice in the first set as the Indians jumped to a 1-0 lead but not before saving two break points on Sanam's serve in the eighth game. In the second, the Indians stepped up the pace and broke the Indonesians thrice for a 2-0 advantage and went on to lead 4-1 in the third before stumbling as the visitors put up a spirited fight.
After Susanto held serve for the first time in the match to make it 4-2, Paes dropped serve in the seventh and then Sie held to make it 4-4. It was the only period when the Indonesians looked to be on equal footing. However, the brief spark was quickly extinguished as Sanam held serve for 5-4 and on cue, Susanto was broken in the 10th as the Indians closed the tie to set off celebrations in the stands.