There was no world record in store for Leander Paes in the Davis Cup as the Indian tennis veteran and Vishnu Vardhan went down in the third rubber to Artem Sitak and Michael Venus of New Zealand in the Asia-Oceania Group I tie here on Saturday.
The defeat for Paes and Vardhan meant that the 43-year-old veteran could not overtake Italian Nicola Pietrangeli for most wins in doubles in Davis Cup history. The two players are tied on 42 wins.
On Saturday, Sitak and Venus rallied from being 0-2 down to take a 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (8-6), 6-3 win in two and a half hours.
India, who are now 2-1 ahead in the tie, will need to win one of the two reverse singles on Sunday to clinch a place in the second round.
India had taken a 2-0 lead on day one with Yuki Bhambri and Ramkumar Ramanathan winning the first two singles.
Paes and Vardhan began well by clinching the opening set in 28 minutes by breaking Venus in the sixth game.
In the first set, Vardhan served a couple of aces in succession and Paes followed suit with a fine return of serve before clinching the point with a cross court winner to break the Kiwi’s serve at 15 that put the hosts 4-2 ahead.
Vardhan did not let go of the advantage and went up to 40-0. Despite the Kiwi combo fighting their way back to 40-30 they had no chance as the 29-year-old Indian served a timely fourth ace to close out the set.
But the Kiwi pair fought back superbly by winning the second set by breaking Paes’ service once and then lorded over the third set, in which the Indians squandered two break point chances.