India to play Taipei in home tie

India has been drawn to play Chinese Taipei in the Asia-Oceania Davis Cup Group I first round tie at home from January 31 to February 2.

Uzbekistan and South Korea are the seeded teams this year and have been given a bye in the first round.

In their only previous meeting, India had travelled to Kaohsiung to play the tie at Yang-Ming Tennis Center in March 2009.  India had won the tie 3-2, where Somdev Devvarman played a pivotal role by winning both his singles matches, including a straight sets victory in the reverse singles over Chinese Taipei’s top player Yen-Hsun Lu, who was ranked 58 at that time.

The venue for the tie would be “decided at a later date by the Executive Committee of AITA,” Bharat Oza, AITA secretary-general, said in a statement.

Davis Cup coach Zeeshan Ali called it a “good draw” for India.

“It is a good draw for us. A home tie is always welcomed. We are playing in February with a full squad, so things look great for us. But they (ChineseTaipei) also have good players.  They have a top 100 player in Lu,” Zeeshan told Deccan Herald. 

“Lee (Leander Paes) is on top of his game. We have two others players (Divij Sharan (70), Purav Raja (90)) who are in top 100. Then we have Sanam Singh and Yuki Bhambri who have been doing well in the doubles as well. So I do not think we should have a problem in doubles combination,” he said.

“Also, I do not feel weather will have much impact. Nowadays, the players are professional and they are used to playing in all conditions. It is getting to play at home court which is the best advantage for us.”

India‘s last two ties — against South Korea and Indonesia — were marred by players’ dispute with AITA. India lost the home tie to Korea (1-4) following the boycott of their top players, who then returned for their next tie against Indonesia and ensured they remain in Asia-Oceania Zone Group I next year with a comfortable 5-0 victory.

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