Fed Cup 2020: Sania Mirza, Ankita Raina to lead India's charge
- With Sania and Ankita in their ranks, the Indian team certainly has the depth to make it to the play-offs.
What's the story?
The Fed Cup tournament was delayed by three weeks due to the coronavirus and the Fed Cup Group I Oceania Zone tournament (in which India is featuring) will take place between 3-7 March 2020 in Dubai.
India has been seeded 5th in the group in which it is placed alongside China, South Korea, Chinese Taipei, Uzbekistan, and Indonesia.
The heart of the matter
The presence of the experienced Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina's brilliant form will give India a good chance to qualify for the play-offs.
Raina has been in superb form and won two ITF singles (ITF Thailand Open 2020 and ITF India Open 2020) and doubles titles each in the current season itself. The 27-year-old is currently ranked 160 in Singles, which is her career-best. Apart from Ankita, the biggest asset for team captain Vishal Uppal will be six-time Doubles Grand Slam champion, Sania Mirza.
33-year-old Mirza had a fantastic return to the Pro circuit as she clinched the Hobart International Women's Doubles title along with Ukrainian partner Nadiia Kichenok.
The legendary Indian ace will be aiming to make her presence count and inspire the youngsters in the team at the Fed Cup 2020.
Speaking on the upcoming tournament, Ankita Raina told PTI,
"I had a good start to the season, so I am confident going into the competition. And definitely Sania will inspire all of us to give our best. Her advise and tips will be more than helpful."
Other tennis players part of the Indian team are Riya Bhatia, Karman Kaur Thandi, and Rutuja Bhosle.
India finished fourth at the 2019 Fed Cup Asia/Oceania Zone but have a good chance of making it to the top two and qualify for the play-offs this time around.
The five-member Indian team will face stiff competition from China. Qiang Wang (WR 29), Saisai Zheng (WR 34), and Shuai Zhang (WR 35) - three of China's players are currently ranked under 100.
Chinese Taipei is also a side that is capable of giving India a run for their money.
Speaking on India's preparations, Vishal Uppal told PTI:
"The conditions are good. All the girls are working hard and there was good energy in the team on and off the court. I have my plans prepared but still have to be present based on situations that may arise."
India will be looking to do well at the upcoming 2020 Fed Cup Asia/Oceania Zone in Dubai and try to make it to the play-offs. With Sania and Ankita in their ranks, the Indian team certainly has the depth to qualify. The excitement is building as the Fed Cup is about to start at the Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Stadium. India will be taking on China in their first clash.Published 02 Mar 2020, 17:46 IST