Tennis

Fed Cup: India has tough start

All set: The Indian Fed Cup squad of Riya Bhatia, Rutuja Bhosale, Sowjanya Bavisetti, Ankita Raina and Sania Mirza, along with coach Ankita Bhambri, physio Anand Dubey and captain Vishaal Uppal, prior to the competition in Dubai.

All set: The Indian Fed Cup squad of Riya Bhatia, Rutuja Bhosale, Sowjanya Bavisetti, Ankita Raina and Sania Mirza, along with coach Ankita Bhambri, physio Anand Dubey and captain Vishaal Uppal, prior to the competition in Dubai.  

Takes on a full-strength China on Tuesday

India will open against the toughest team in the field, China, in the opening match of the Fed Cup Asia-Oceania women’s tennis tournament scheduled to be played in Dubai from Tuesday.

The Chinese team is pretty strong with Wang Qiang, Shuai Zhang, Zheng Saisai, Shuai Peng and YiFan Xu.

Interestingly, the players have been competing in the circuit and not returned home after the Australian Open.

The Indian team captain Vishaal Uppal said that it was a good thing that India would be playing the best team straightaway.

“The best time to catch a top-ranked team is in the first round. Having said that, we have to try and beat every team in this competition,” said Vishaal.

With the top two from the six teams making it to the next stage, India may have to win against tough teams to make progress.

Ankita the top choice

Ankita Raina will be the obvious No.1 player, and there should perhaps be no doubt that former World No. 1 and six-time Grand Slam champion Sania Mirza would figure in the doubles team.

Sania and the rest of the team did have a good training session on Sunday.

The captain may have to take a crucial decision on the second singles player from among Rutuja Bhosale, Riya Bhatia and Sowjanya Bavisetti. Karman Kaur Thandi pulled out owing to a stress fracture, paving the way for National champion Sowjanya, who was originally a reserve.

“Our team nominations will not be revealed till one hour before the tie,” said Vishaal.

India is scheduled to play Uzbekistan, Korea, Chinese Taipei and Indonesia in that order after the match against China.

The former Asian Games gold medallist, the 28th ranked Wang Qiang, who was ranked a career-best 12, had reached the fourth round of the Australian Open this year and had beaten Serena Williams in the third round.

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Printable version | Mar 31, 2020 7:36:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/fed-cup-india-has-tough-start/article30965719.ece

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