Kiwis come from behind to beat Pakistan in Hawera

WELLINGTON: Novice Austen Childs clinched the final match in the reverse singles as New Zealand came from behind to beat Pakistan 3-2 in their Asia/Ocean Group II Davis Cup semifinal match on Sunday.

The 21-year-old made his Davis Cup debut in the deciding rubber and pulled off a 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 win over Aqeel Khan. Pakistan led 2-1 going into the final day before New Zealand number one Rubin Statham levelled the series in the first of the reverse singles by beating Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi 6-2, 6-1, 6-3.

Childs then stepped up in the final match to dispatch Khan in under two hours. I was pretty nervous from the start. I wasnt really excited, just nervous, said Childs, a student at the University of Louisville in the United States.

As soon as I broke his serve in the first set I was all right. Statham kept New Zealand in the tie with a straight sets win over Aisam who had been the Pakistan anchor over the first two days.

The Wimbledon doubles quarter-finalist won a marathon opening singles when he beat Michael Venus 15-13 in the fifth set on Friday and then partnered Aqeel to win the doubles on Saturday.

New Zealand will now play the winner of the match between Thailand and Indonesia in the group final in September. The semifinal against Pakistan was played on indoor courts in the North Island town of Hawera after being shifted from Pakistan amid security concerns.