It's all about magic: Paes

Paes and his long-time and former partner Mahesh Bhupathi drubbed Brazil’s comparatively infant combo of Marcelo Mello and Joao Soares 6-4, 7-6(5), 6-1, in a little over two hours to keep India in contention while notching their 24th consecutive win in Davis Cup.

"Yes, it was magic that we can come together and play. It has been a while since we came together, but more importantly, we won and kept the tie alive," said Paes who first paired up with Bhupathi in Davis Cup back in 1996.

On the close second set that they nearly lost before saving setpoints to eventually take it in the tie-breaker, Paes said the returns were not up to the mark.

"We did not return as well in the second set, but in the third, we got them going. Our strategy was to return and cross, and it worked for us today," Paes said.

On their ability to "connect" despite not playing together on the Tour and coming together only for occasions like Davis Cup or the Olympics or the Asian Games, Paes said: "We have played, too, much together and it is fairly easy to get our game together."

Looking ahead to Saturday's reverse singles, Paes felt India were very much in with a chance to win the tie although it would be a tough task.

"It’s a tough ask. The morning match (between Somdev Devvarman and Thomaz Bellucci) will be the key. One advantage for us is that Bellucci played a long match yesterday and had some problems with his legs. If we can come through, then anything is possible," Paes opined.

Non-playing captain Shiv Prakash Misra was confident that India could still win both the matches on Sunday.

"Somdev has the capacity to win his match, while Rohan (Bopanna, who plays Ricardo Mello in the second reverse singles) has been in great touch and can win. In Davis Cup, anything is possible," he said.

Meanwhile, the doubles defeat left the Brazilians to rue the chances they wasted to at least stretch the Indians into a fourth or even fifth set.

"We had our chances, especially in the second set which was quite close. We had set points in our favour at 5-4 and 6-5, but they came up with some good shots.

"In the tie-breaker, we were up 4-1 but Mahesh (Bhupathi) had two good serves and a fine return. We made a couple of unforced errors too and that was it," said Soares.

The 28-year-old Soares, who paired up with Mello only this year, admitted that the Indian pair had far too much experience, besides playing well.

"They played well but we had more chances in the second set. In the third, they had an early break and it was difficult to come back after that," said Soares.

Mello, who turns 27 next week, said in reference to the second set tie-breaker: "One minute, we were up and one minute later, the match had turned. That’s the way it goes, a couple of points here and there made the difference."

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