China in action against India at the Fed Cup in Dubai
Chinese women's team (red) have been a cut above the rest during the Fed Cup campaign in Dubai this week. Image Credit: Mauricio Ramos

Dubai: China assured themselves one of the two play-off spots, while India have one foot in the next stage heading into the final day of the Asia/Oceania Group I Fed Cup by BNP Paribas at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium on Saturday.

In Friday’s action, China made light work of winless Uzbekistan with a 2-1 win with Saisai Zheng and Qiang Wang brushing aside Yasmina Karimjanova and Sabina Sharipova while they had to forfeit their doubles after Yi Fan Xu retired with a stomach injury.

With China already assured of the top spot, once again it was India stretching into the deciding doubles with Sania Mirza combining with Riya Bhatia for a hard-fought 2-1 win over Chinese Taipei while nearly assuring themselves of joining China for the Fed Cup play-offs that are scheduled to be held next month.

During the past four days, China has won all four for maximum points, while India eased into second spot with a 3-1 win-loss record. Indonesia succumbed to a 1-2 defeat at the hands of South Korea for an even-par 2-2 – similar to that registered by South Korea.

“We still need one more win. The job is not yet done,” India’s captain Vishal Uppal told Gulf News.

“Honestly, we don’t want any calculations tomorrow. We need to win the last one against Indonesia and finish off on a high. It looked like nothing was in our favour today. We had so many line calls going against us and even the net chords didn’t seem to favour us. But in the end we were destined to win this one. We really deserved the victory,” he added.

It was young Rutuja Bhosale getting India off to a solid start for a second day in a row following her well-contested 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (6) win over Ya Yi Yang in the opening singles. Ankita Raina started off well, but couldn’t sustain the pressure from En Shuo Liang as India’s top singles player wilted 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 to push the match into the deciding doubles. However, it was Mirza and Bhatia lending a superb late fightback to win 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 to assure India’s third win on the run after opening with a loss against China.

As per the regulations, teams finishing first and second advance to the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Play-offs, while the fifth and sixth place finishers move down to contest Asia/Oceania Group II during 2021.

RESULTS

(Friday’s matches)

China bt Uzbekistan 2-1: Saisai Zheng bt Yasmina Karimjanova 6-0, 6-1; Qiang Wang bt Sabina Sharipova 6-1, 6-3; Shuai Peng/Yi Fan Xu lost to Yasmina Karimjanova/Sitora Normuradova (forfeit).

India bt Chinese Taipei 2-1: Rutuja Bhosale bt Ya Yi Yang 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (6); Ankita Raina lost to En Shuo Liang 3-6, 6-2, 6-3; Sania Mirza/Ankita Raina bt Hao-Ching Chan/Latisha Chan 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.

South Korea bt Indonesia 2-1: Su Jeong Jang bt Priska Madelyn Nugroho 7-5, 6-3; Na-Lae Han bt Aldila Sutjiadi 6-4, 6-1; Na-Lae Han/Na Ri Kim lost to Priska Madelyn Nugroho/Janice Tjen 2-6, 0-6.