Dubai: China is backing their young band of players to revel on the global stage after making next month’s play-offs against the Netherlands for the 2020 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas.
China dominated and won all five matches in last week’s Asia/Oceania Group I Fed Cup ahead of India at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium to secure one of two play-off spots.
They were then drawn to play the Netherlands while India will have to contend against Latvia in the home and away format play-offs on April 17-18.
“We’ve not been on the top level for the past 10 years. But with this bunch of players, we can dream big from now on,” Lyu Liang, the manager of the team, told Gulf News.
“China had their good days with players like Li Na in the squad. And now after more than 10 years, we have a fantastic pool of players who are willing to fight for every point till the end and once again allow us to dream for bigger things in the Fed Cup competition,” he added.
Ranked No.45 in the world, China’s squad comprising of Qiang Wang (No.29), Shuai Zhang (No.35), Saisai Zheng (No.34), Shuai Peng (No.102) and Ya Fan Xu (No.10 in doubles) won all five encounters to finish with a 14-1 win/loss record - their one match dropped due to a stomach injury to Yi Fan Xu against Uzbekistan.
“The Fed Cup is a wonderful opportunity for countries to show the development of tennis at the national level. Over the past few years, China has done quite a bit to ensure a group of players who are all capable of playing at a similar level. The end result is the ability of these girls to compete within themselves first so that we can send the best squad of players for a competition like this one,” Lyu noted.
“Honestly, with all these players I feel China should be in the World Group like it was a few years back. They deserve to be in the World Group merely because of this set of players who are willing to fight till the end and raise their game for the sake of their country,” he added.
The manager further reiterated that no one had a guaranteed place in the squad when it came to the Fed Cup. “Only the best from the lot will make it into the team,” Lyu said.
“The Netherlands is next and you can be assured we will be sending our strongest squad there. There are a few other players who are equally good and can play both singles and doubles. Maybe we can consider them as well,” he added.
South Korea and Indonesia finished in third and fourth places with identical 2-3 win/loss records to retain their spots in the Asia/Oceania Group I, while Chinese Taipei and Uzbekistan finished fifth and sixth to slip down to contest Asia/Oceania Group II during 2021.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
* China secured the top spot with a perfect 5-0 record, followed by India in second with a 4-1 record to qualify for the Fed Cup play-offs.
* China will play The Netherlands while India has been drawn to take on Latvia in the home and away format play-offs to be held on April 17-18.
* The other teams in the fray for the play-offs are Poland vs Brazil; Mexico vs Great Britain; Serbia vs Canada; Japan vs Ukraine; Romania vs Italy; Argentina vs Kazakhstan.
* The eight winning nations will progress to the Fed Cup Qualifiers in 2021, while the eight losing nations will compete in their respective regional Group I event in 2021.