Indian Fed Cup Team Creates History, Qualifies for World Play-Offs
The Indian Fed cup team creates history as it qualifies for the world play-offs for the first time. India sealed its place in the play-offs after Ankita Raina managed to win an important singles match against Aldila Sutjiadi. She had lost her previous two singles, but there was no looking back as she performed her best in this match and locked the tie 1-1, reports The Bridge.
The tension could be felt when Rutuja Bhosale suffered a crushing defeat against the 16-year-old Priska Madelyn Nugroho in 1 hour 43 minutes in the opening singles. The scoreboard read 3-6 6-0 3-6. Ankita and Sania Mirza, then went on to beat Sutziyadi and Nugroho 7-6(4) 6-0. The Indian team thus defeated Indonesia 2-1 and will take on either Latvia or the Netherlands in April in the play-offs.
The duo was trailing at 1-4 and picked up the pace to ultimately dominate the decisive set. India had lost the opening tie to China but finished second in the six-team Group after winning four games in a row. China remained unbeaten in the tournament. India remained in the regional group, since earning their place back in Asia/Oceania Group I in 2016. Ankita’s rise helped improve the team’s position and Rutuja also provided winning starts in a few ties thus assisting India to move up on the leader board.
Sania Mirza returns to the court
Sania Mirza returned to the court after four years and her motivational presence and exemplary performance helped reach the milestone. India’s non-playing captain, Vishal Uppal was extremely happy with the result and said in an interview, “It’s a historic moment and to be part of it feels surreal. I am proud of each and every member of our team — the players, physio, coach, manager. We all came together and worked towards a common goal. The key was to do the fundamentals well and keep it simple on the court. As a team, everyone stepped up one day or the other which is very important.” He hopes that the big win will give the much-needed boost to women’s tennis in India.
“It’s a historic moment and to be part of it feels surreal. I am proud of each and every member of our team — the players, physio, coach, manager. We all came together and worked towards a common goal.”
Previous Fed Cup Performances
India’s best previous Fed Cup performance was witnessed in 2006 when they were the runners-up in Asia/Oceania Zone Group I. They are now two tie victories away from competing in the 2021 Fed Cup Finals, once the next month’s play-offs are done with.
Sania Mirza won all three of her deciding doubles matches in the last three days of competition, she said, “I think we have to literally take it match by match. But I also think we need to exhale and enjoy this moment too because this is a huge step for women’s tennis in India – we’re coming from a country where really women’s tennis was redundant until maybe 15 years ago.”
Image Credit: Outlook India
Saavriti is an intern with SheThePeople.TV