New Zealand suffer 5-0 whitewash to Finland in Davis Cup – Stuff

Posted: September 17, 2022 at 11:38 pm

Tennis NZ

Michael Venus hits a return during New Zealand's Davis Cup World Group 1 tie with Finland in Helsinki.

New Zealand have been thrashed 5-0 by Finland in their Davis Cup World Group 1 tie in Helsinki.

Needing to win the doubles rubber to keep the tie alive, Michael Venus and Artem Sitak lost 7-5 3-6 6-3 to Emil Ruusuvuori and Harri Heliovaara in one hour and 44 minutes.

That gave Finland the winning point, and with Ajeet Rai suffering a slight hip problem, captain Kelly Evernden opted to give youngster Isaac Becroft (ranked 1016) a match in the first of the dead rubber reverse singles matches against world No 51 Ruusuvuori.

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The 21-year-old Becroft wasnt overawed by an opponent ranked nearly 1000 places ahead of him, but went down 6-2 6-1 in 53 minutes.

It left Kiranpal Pannu to try to salvage something for New Zealand in the final rubber against Eero Vasa, yet the Finn again proved too strong, winning 6-2 6-3 in 61 minutes.

The chastening result leaves New Zealand in a perilous position, bidding to avoid relegation to World Group 2.

Evernden gave a refreshingly honest appraisal of his teams efforts in the Finnish capital, saying they were nowhere near the level that they needed to be in order to compete against the elite nations.

It was a great learning experience for the guys. Nobody on our team is capable of beating Ruusuvuori and we got to see him in action a little bit. So it was a valuable thing for us. he said.

I think the reality of what needs to be done for our guys, seeing a guy that's ranked in the top 50 in the world, first hand and up close and personal, they realise that no matter what they're thinking about their ranking, 500 or 600 in the world, its nowhere near the level that they're seeing.

Hes [Ruusuvuori] a scary dude right now and they're out there playing the best point they can possibly play and they dont make any headway and its it over and over and over, and over again.

Evernden felt Rai and Becroft could take plenty away from the experience of playing someone of Ruusuvuoris calibre as they resume their individual careers.

Tennis NZ

New Zealand's Isaac Becroft was beaten 6-2 6-1 in 53 minutes by Finland's world No 51 Emil Ruusuvuori.

Ruusuvuoris ball striking was so superior to anybody that we had, I think that's the thing that I wanted them to see, stand on the other side of the court, and get completely thumped out of position by a guy who's playing top 10, top 15 guys regularly in his career, and I think it was an eye-opening experience for them ... they got a little bit of a like, oh, geez, wow, you know, it doesn't stop, Evernden said.

And I and that's the that's the problem with playing at the low levels and playing in the 700s is everybody's making mistakes on simple balls, everybody's missing shots that they should make. That doesn't happen at the top level.

If you give somebody an opportunity to win a point, they're going to put the ball in the right place, they're going to win the point, and you cant make mistakes, and it was really valuable for the kids to see that.

Finland advance to the Davis Cup Qualifiers next March while New Zealand will play in the World Group 1 playoffs.

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New Zealand suffer 5-0 whitewash to Finland in Davis Cup - Stuff

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