Asian zone is toughest to get to World Group: Kazakh captain
New Delhi, Feb 6 (PTI) Kazakhstan Fed Cup captain Dias Doskarayev says it is a wrong perception that Asia/Oceania zone provides the easiest passage to the World Group since the level of competition is stiffest in the Group.
Doskarayev said they have brought their best singles players for the competitions but refused suggestions that his side will be favourite to win the tie and seal a berth in the Play-offs for the World Group II.
World number 50 Yuliya Pitintseva will lead the Kazakh challenge and will be supported by world number 60 Zarina Diyas with Gozal Ainitdinova and Zhibek Kulambayeva.
Yulia and Zarina are the highest-ranked players in Asia/Oceania Group I competition this year.
"Yes, we have the highest-ranked players but we are not favourites. There are no easy matches in Asia zone. Our number three and four players are upcoming players, so we will rely on our leaders (Yulia and Zarina)," Doskarayev, who was elected Vice President of the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation, said after Captains' meet.
India captain Ankita Bhambri made it clear that home conditions would not make much of a difference.
"Both our players are coming from tournaments. We have practised on these courts for three days now. It's going to be tough. Most of them play less here and more outside, so not much home advantage," Bhambri, herself a former Fed Cup player, said.
Ankita has competed against the top players of this competition like Lin Zhu, so what she needs to do to pull off matches against such rivals?
"Ankita needs to play bigger points well, the deuce points, need to hold serve. It's one good break that makes the difference," said Bhambri.
The Chinese team has arrived only this morning and their indisposed captain Shao-Xuan Zeng is yet to join the side.
A support staff member, speaking on behalf of the captain said, they are expecting tough matches.
"The best players of the teams are here. We will have good matches. Indian players will have home advantage. They are good fighters and deserve some good results," he said.
India's very own Karan Rastogi has been guiding the Hong Kong team for some time and it was his side which beat Sania Mirza-led India in 2014 in a Group II tie.
"It's good to be back in India. We got promoted last year and it's the same team in the last two years. I am glad that our player (Eudice Chong) has flown straight from the US to play this tie, it shows commitment," the 31-year-old said.
Japan captain Toshihisa Tsuchihashi, who interacted through an interpreter, said they have a balanced team.
"All teams are strong but we are hoping to achieve our target of qualifying for the World Group Play-offs