India come from behind to register 2-1 win against Indonesia, qualify for Fed Cup playoffs
- India beat Indonesia 2-1 in the final tie of the Asia Oceania Group I Fed Cup qualifiers to clinch a spot in the Fed Cup playoffs
What's the story?
India registered a sensational 2-1 victory against Indonesia in their fifth and final tie of the Fed Cup Asia-Oceania women's tennis tournament currently being held in Dubai. The win enabled India to qualify for the Fed Cup playoffs for the very first time.
In case you didn't know
The Fed Cup, the premier team competition in women's tennis, is the female equivalent of the Davis Cup and 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.
France, Australia, USA, Czech Republic, Russia, Belarus, Spain, Germany, Hungary, Belgium, Slovakia and Switzerland are the twelve teams that would be contesting the finals this year.
India was participating in the Asia/Oceania Group I event being held in Dubai, which is part of the group events held across three regions - Americas, Asia/Oceania and Europe/Africa. The ties were played on a round robin basis. The top 2 teams in the event were to be promoted to the next stage while the bottom 2 teams were supposed to be relegated.
This was India's 5th and final tie of the campaign. In the previous encounters, India had gone down 0-3 against China in the first tie but bounced back to register three consecutive victories, beating Uzbekistan (3-0), South Korea (2-1) and Chinese Taipei (2-1) respectively.
Heart of the matter
Ankita Raina won her singles match and then partnered Sania Mirza in a decisive doubles win to help India register a come from behind 2-1 win against Indonesia in their final tie of the Fed Cup Asia-Oceania women's tennis tournament. The win enabled India to qualify for the Fed Cup playoffs to be held in April by virtue of finishing second in the 6 team Asia-Oceania Group I.
In the first singles match, World No.433 Rutuja Bhosale put up a good fight but could not continue with her winning momentum, losing 3-6, 6-0, 3-6 to Priska Madelyn Nugroho of Indonesia resulting in India trailing 1-0 in the tie after the first match.
The 1st set started with both players failing to hold their serves in the first 3 games. Nugroho was the first to hold serve to take a 3-1 lead in the set. Both players held their serves after that till Rutuja lost her serve again while serving to stay in the set in the 9th game to lose the set 3-6.
Rutuja bounced back brilliantly in the 2nd set as she did not allow her opponent to win a single game and served out the set 6-0.
Both players held their serves in the beginning of the 3rd set till Rutuja was broken in the 6th game to concede a 4-2 advantage to the Indonesian. This one break of serve was enough for Nugroho to close out the set and with it the match 6-3, 0-6, 6-3.
With India trailing 0-1, it was now time for India's No.1 singles player Ankita Raina to deliver the goods and she did not disappoint, defeating Aldila Sutjiadi 6-3, 6-3 to help India level in the tie 1-1.
Ankita started brightly by breaking serve in the very first game of the 1st set. She broke her opponent's serve again in the 5th game but was broken back in the very next game. Not to be denied, she broke Aldila in the 9th game to close out the set 6-3.
The 2nd set did not start well for Ankita as she lost her serve in the very first game. But she rallied back to break her opponent's serve in the 4th and 6th games to take a 4-2 lead. Ankita held her next 2 service games to close out the set and the match 6-3, 6-3.
Ankita then combined with the Indian tennis queen Sania Mirza to defeat Priska Madelyn Nugroho and Aldila Sutjiadi 7-6 (7-4), 6-0 in the doubles match to seal the tie 2-1 in India's favour.
The Indian pair got off to a slow start as they lost their serve in the 2nd game of the 1st set. Although they broke back in the 3rd game, they were broken again in the very next game to trail 3-1. The Indian pair restored parity after breaking their opponent's serve in the 7th game. Both pairs held their serves after that to take the set to a tie-break. The Indians managed to win the tie-break 7-4 and with it the set 7-6.
With their confidence high after having won the first set, the Sania-Ankita pair did not allow their opponents to win even a single game in the 2nd set. They closed the match 7-6, 6-0 on their first match point to claim the tie 2-1.
Talking about the upcoming playoff, Sania said that the Indians will have to take it one match at a time and getting to the playoffs was a moment to celebrate.
“I think we have to literally take it match by match. But I also think we need to exhale and enjoy this moment too because this is a huge step for women’s tennis in India – we’re coming from a country where really women’s tennis was redundant until maybe 15 years ago"
India’s captain Vishal Uppal hoped that this historic win will be a great fillip to women's tennis in India and they would grow from strength to strength from here on.
“From our perspective, for us to achieve this, it’s a milestone for us, it’s a historic moment for us and I hope that this gives women’s tennis in India a big boost going back home, the first team ever to qualify for a world-group play-off, I’m frankly speechless."
India will be up against Latvia in the Fed Cup playoffs in the month of April. The Indian team would hope to continue this winning momentum and clinch a place in the 2021 Fed Cup finals, for which they need to clinch two more tie victories.
Published 08 Mar 2020, 08:00 IST