Dubai: Indian ace Sania Mirza was pleased that she could do her bit and keep India in the fray for a spot in next month’s play-offs of the Fed Cup competition that is being held at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium.
With India tied 1-1 after splitting the singles against South Korea, Mirza teamed up with Ankita Raina to fight past the Korean pair of Na-Lae Han and Na Ri Kim 6-4, 6-4 for their second win in three days.
India had opened with a 3-0 loss to top seeds China on the opening day, but did well to win 3-0 against injury-hit Uzbekistan on the second, and on Thursday came up with a 2-1 win against the Koreans to keep their hopes alive. On Friday India were to play Chinese Taipei followed by a crucial tie against Indonesia on Saturday.
“The idea is to stay positive at all times. Today was tough because we were up against a clever pair. South Korea has some legitimate tennis players and we all knew that it was never going to be easy. From the start I had to stay focused and keep Ankita positive at all times,” Mirza told Gulf News after getting past Na-Lae Han and Na Ri Kim in the deciding doubles.
“We were in difficult positions for quite a few times, but it was our attitude that pulled us out of these corners,” she added.
Rutuja Bhosale gave India a great start with a swift 7-5, 6-4 win against Su Jeong Jang. But, Raina went down to La-Lae Han 4-6, 0-6 to leave everything on the deciding doubles match.
Indonesia proved to be the pick of the lot with a fluent second victory and were joined by China who powered to their third straight win on the third day of the Asia/Oceania Group I Fed Cup by BNP Paribas in Thursday’s encounters.
Winners on the opening day against Chinese Taipei, Indonesia had fallen against current outright leaders China on the second day. But on Thursday, the Indonesian youngsters opened up the race for the top two places with an emphatic 3-0 result against Uzbekistan.
China, meanwhile, remained at a different level with a third straight win, this time against Chinese Taipei. Saisai Zheng powered through for a 6-1, 6-2 win over Ya Yi Yang before Qiang Wang eased her way past En Shuo Liang 6-3, 6-3.
China have a 100 per cent match winning record of 9-0 after three days followed by Indonesia, India and South Korea with identical 5-4 records. Chinese Taipei are in fifth with 3-6, while Uzbekistan are yet to open their account with a 0-9 record.
Saturday will be the final day of the round-robin contest with the top two teams advancing to the play-offs scheduled for April, while the fifth and sixth placed teams will contest the Asia/Oceania Group II in 2021.
“We all know what we’ve got to do from now on,” Mirza said.
“It will be one encounter at a time. We have Chinese Taipei and Indonesia and nothing but wins on the next two days will help us. We have a legitimate chance of making it through to the play-offs.”
China bt Chinese Taipei 3-0: Saisai Zheng bt Ya Yi Yang 6-1, 6-2; Qiang Wang bt En Shuo Liang 6-3, 6-3; Shuai Peng/Yi Fan Xu bt Ya Yi Yang/Latisha Chan 4-6, 6-1, 6-4
India bt South Korea 2-1: Rutuja Bhosale bt Su Jeong Jang 7-5, 6-4; Ankita Raina lost to La-Lae Han 4-6, 0-6; Sania Mirza/Ankita Raina vs Na-Lae Han/Na Ri Kim 6-4, 6-4
Indonesia bt Uzbekistan 3-0: Priska Madelyn Nugroho bt Nigina Abduraimova 6-0, 6-4; Aldila Sutjiadi bt Akgul Amanmuradova 3-6, 7-5, 6-4; Priska Madelyn Nugroho/Aldila Sutjiadi vs Yasmina Karimjanova/Sitora Normuradova 6-1, 6-3