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India go down fighting 0-3 to China in the first tie of their Fed Cup campaign

  • India lose 0-3 to China in the first tie of their Asia/Oceania Group I Fed Cup campaign
Kartik Iyer
CONTRIBUTOR
News
Modified 04 Mar 2020, 08:22 IST

Ankita Raina put up a valiant fight against Wang Qiang
Ankita Raina put up a valiant fight against Wang Qiang

What's the story?

The Indian women's tennis team went down fighting 0-3 against the overwhelming favourites, China, in the Fed Cup Asia-Oceania women's tennis tournament being held in Dubai.

In case you didn't know

The Fed Cup is the premier team competition in women's tennis. It is the female equivalent of the the Davis Cup.

The Fed Cup is being held in a new format from this year, with the finals scheduled to take place in Budapest (Hungary) from 14th to 19th April 2020. Twelve teams would be contesting the finals this year - France, Australia, USA, Czech Republic, Russia, Belarus, Spain, Germany, Hungary, Belgium, Slovakia and Switzerland.

India is participating in the Asia/Oceania Group I event being held in Dubai with 5 other nations - China, Chinese Taipei, Indonesia, Korea Republic and Uzbekistan. The ties are being played on a round robin basis. The top 2 teams in the event will be promoted to the next stage while the bottom 2 teams will be relegated.

Heart of the matter

India took on the formidable China in their first tie of the Fed Cup Asia-Oceania women's tennis tournament being held in Dubai. The Indian team put up a stirring fight in the two singles matches but still ended up losing the tie 0-3.

In the first singles match, World No.433 Rutuja Bhosale lost to world No. 35 Shuai Zhang 4-6, 2-6. The match was lot closer than the score suggests.

Rutuja started brightly and broke her Chinese opponent in the 3rd game of the first set. She consolidated the break to take a 3-1 lead. But the Chinese struck back to break Rutuja in the 6th game. The momentum of the match changed after this and Shuai broke Rutuja's serve again in the 8th game and went on to close the set 6-4.

Both the players held their serves in the first 3 games of the second set. But the Chinese struck by breaking Rutuja's serve in the 4th game. It was plain sailing for Shuai from then on as she broke Rutuja's serve again in the 8th game to close out the set 6-2 and with it the match.

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In the second singles match, World No. 160 Ankita Raina lost 6-1, 2-6, 4-6 to World No. 29 Wang Qiang in a marathon encounter to give China an unassailable 2-0 lead in the tie.

Ankita was off to a blistering start in the 1st set and did not give any chance to her Chinese opponent to settle down. After both players held their first service games, Ankita reeled off 5 games in a row to win the first set 6-1.

Stung by the reverse, Wang came out firing in the 2nd set and broke Ankita's serve in the 4th game. Although Ankita broke back in the very next game, she could not sustain the momentum and lost the next 3 games to lose the set 2-6.

The 3rd set was a see-saw affair with both players fighting tooth and nail. Wang was the first to strike breaking Ankita's serve in the 4th game but the Indian ace retaliated by breaking right back. Ankita was broken again in the 8th game giving Wang the opportunity to close out the match on her serve. But Ankita was determined not to go down without a fight and broke her opponent after saving 2 match points. But the Indian could not hold on to her serve in the decisive 10th game and thereby lost the set 4-6 and with it the match.

Having lost the tie, India decided to rest Ankita and Sania Mirza in the inconsequential doubles encounter. The young Sowjanya Bavisetti and Riya Bhatia representing India, could not put much of a resistance against the experienced Chinese pair of Shuai Peng and YiFan Xu and lost the match 0-6, 1-6 enabling China to seal the tie 3-0.

What's next?

India are scheduled to face Uzbekistan, Korea, Chinese Taipei and Indonesia in their upcoming ties. Having given a close fight to China, supposedly the toughest team in the competition, the Indians would be high on confidence and would hope to recover quickly from this bruising encounter. With 2 teams going to be promoted from this group, their hopes are very much alive.

Published 04 Mar 2020, 08:22 IST
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