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Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina to lead India for Billie Jean King Cup World Group play-off tie against Latvia in April

Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina
Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Modified 25 Mar 2021
News

Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina will lead the country in April's Billie Jean King Cup World Group play-off tie against Latvia, according to the All India Tennis Association (AITA).

Rutuja Bhosale, Karman Kaur Thandi and debutant Zeel Desai will join Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina in the team. Riya Bhatia will be the reserve player on the team.

The tie, scheduled to be held on April 16 and 17, will be played on indoor hardcourts at the National Tennis Center Lielupe, in Jurmala, Latvia. This will be the first meeting between the two nations in the competition.

"The AITA selection committee picked the team after a virtual meeting on Tuesday. The team was selected on the basis of form, ranking, experience, and their game styles,” said Vishal Uppal, who is the captain of the team.

Latvia has a strong team in world No. 54 Jelena Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion, and Anastasija Sevastova, a former world No 11 who is now ranked 57th in the world.

The India - Latvia tie is one of eight Billie Jean King Cup World Group play-off ties taking place in April. The winner of the tie will advance to the 2022 Qualifiers with a chance to reach the Billie Jean King Cup Finals next year. Meanwhile, the losing team will be moving back to the Group I event in their region.

The 2021 Billie Jean King Cup Finals, which were scheduled to take place in Budapest, Hungary next month, have been postponed as of now.


Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina among India's most successful campaigners at the Billie Jean King Cup

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Sania Mirza at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore in 2016
Sania Mirza at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore in 2016

Six-time Grand Slam winner Sania Mirza is India's second most successful player in the Billie Jean King Cup competition. Mirza, a former world No. 1 in doubles, has a 27-10 record in the event and is two wins short of equaling former India No. 1 Nirupama Vaidyanathan, who has a 29-14 record.

India's current top-ranked player Ankita Raina, who won her first WTA Tour doubles title last month, has a 23-17 record in the competition.

Sania Mirza is currently ranked 157th in the world while Ankita Raina is ranked 101st in doubles and No. 169 in singles.

The Billie Jean King is the world's largest annual international team competition in women's sports, with more than 110 countries taking part last year.

Published 25 Mar 2021, 22:28 IST
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