Ankita Raina and Karman Kaur Thandi chalked out contrasting victories as India thrashed Hong Kong 3-0 to stay alive in the Fed Cup Asia-Oceania group-1 tennis tournament at the RK Khanna Stadium, New Delhi on Friday.
After suffering two straight defeats against Chinese and Kazakhstan’s players , Karman Kaur Mundi took the court against lower-ranked opponent, placed 761 in the WTA list, with lot of apprehensions among the fans present at the stadium.
The 18- year old looked tentative as the first match started. Karman made heavy weather of her victory 6-3 6-4 over Eudice Chong who also did not inspire confidence. The match turned out to be a battle of unforced errors as both struggled on the court with their serves, returns and returns. The players found it hard to hold on to their serves. Karman lost her serve thrice and Chong dropped serve five times.
However at the end Indian prevailed over her rival much to the relief of her team mates and the supporters. The last time Karman won a Fed Cup match was in February 2017 in Astana, Kazakhstan. After taking the lead for the first time in this tournament, there was sense of anticipation and high expectations in the Indian camp as Ankita took on Ling Zhang in the crucial second singles.
The in-form 25-year old Gujarati live up to the hopes of her fans as she made short work of Ling Zhang 6-3 6-2 to give India their first win of the 2018 season. Ankita who beat much higher -ranked players in last two days showed no let up in her intensity against 331 ranked Ling Zhang . The Indian did not lose a single point on her serve in the first two games and after breaking Zhang in the fourth game, she saved four breakpoints in the fifth game of the first set to stay ahead. In the second set also, she won an early break, but Zhang showed a fine game to survive nine breakpoints in holding serve in the fifth game.
Ankita broke her in the seventh game and served out the match, surviving two breakpoints along the way. In the inconsequential doubles, former Asian junior champion Pranjala Yadlapalli, paired with Prarthana Thombare outplayed Kwan Yau Ng and Ching Hu Wu 6-2- 6-4. The hosts now faces Chinese Taipei, in the relegation Play-off to be played on Saturday with winner staying a put in Group I while the loser will be relegated to Group II. India last played Chinese Taipei in February 2011 in Thailand and lost 1-2.
The other results
Pool-A: Kazakhstan beat China 3-0 (Zarina Diyas bt Zhaoxuan Yang 7-5, 6-2; Yulia Putintseva bt Yafan Wang 6-4, 4-6, 6-1; Gozal Ainitdinova / Zhibek Kulambayeva w.o. Yafan Wang / Zhaoxuan Yang Yang).
Pool-B: Japan beat Chinese Taipei 3-0 (Miyu Kato bt Ching Wen Hsu 6-2, 6-1; Nao HIbino bt Chieh-Yu Hsu 7-6(8), 6-4; Miyu Kato / Makoto Ninomiya bt Ching Wen Hsu / Ya-Hsuan Lee 6-2, 7-6(1)).
Korea beat Thailand 2-1 (Jeong Sunam bt Nicha Lertpitaksinchai 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-0; Han Na-Lae lost to Luksika Kumkhum 0-6, 6-2, 5-7; Han Na-Lae / Kim Na Ri bt Luksika Kumkhum / Peangtarn Plipuech 5-7, 7-6(3), 6-3).