THE superior power, pace and consistency of James McGee proved the decisive factor as the 25-year-old Dubliner provided Ireland with a perfect start in the Davis Cup clash against Estonia.
Facing Estonian No 2, Jaan Kononov, at David Lloyd Riverview last night, the Irish No 1 made short work of the US-based tennis scholarship student as he romped to a 6-0 6-1 6-4 win in one hour and 54 minutes.
But Limerick 20-year-old Sam Barry, making his home Davis Cup debut, failed to consolidate on McGee's good work, going down to Estonia's No 1 Vladimir Ivanov 3-6 6-2 6-3 7-6 (7/3) in three hours and five minutes. The tie is deadlocked at 1-1 going into today's doubles.
After the opening contest, a delighted McGee said: "I put in a good performance from the start but his level was improving gradually as the match went on.
"I did a good job in the first and second set not to give him too much rhythm. I was very solid, consistent and kept a high level of concentration throughout the match."
McGee got off to the perfect start by breaking Kononov in the opening game. Inside 23 minutes, the Castleknock man had surged into a 5-0 lead, and then after Kononov had saved two set points, McGee closed out the set with a backhand smash and a wide backhand from the visiting player.
In the second set, the Estonian had to wait until the fourth game before holding his serve for the first time in the match.
However, McGee broke again in the sixth game for a 5-1 lead, Kononov winning only one point. And the home player closed out the set in style, holding to love to take a two sets to love lead.
The third set saw Kononov move 2-0 ahead, but McGee never looked like losing his composure, breaking back straight away. And another break in the seventh game sealed the deal for the home team, Kononov overhitting a forehand on the final point.