Ankita’s win not enough yet againFebruary 9, 2018
Ankita Raina continued to excel, but her brave effort in beating the former World No. 27 and French Open quarterfinalist, Yulia Putintseva, 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 could not lift the team as Kazakhstan clinched the decisive doubles with minimum fuss in the Fed Cup Asia-Oceania Group-1 tennis tournament here on Thursday.
There was no shame in losing to a team like Kazakhstan which had won the zonal competition last year, and had two players in the top-100.
However, it was clear that Prarthana Thombare had only few sparks of quality play and failed to deliver as a doubles specialist. India managed to win a mere four games in doubles, after being blanked in the first set.
In the morning, the wiry 19-year-old Karman Kaur Thandi played better than the first day, but Zarina Diyas, playing the first rubber despite being the best-ranked in her team at No. 55, was far too consistent to let the Indian get into any rhythm on way to a 6-3, 6-2 victory.
The 25-year-old Ankita, ranked a modest 253, continued from where she had left off against China with a flawless performance that saw her go up a break after winning the first 6-3.
Bad line calls
However, a bunch of bad line calls and poor umpiring saw her lose her grip over the match. For one who had not faced a breakpoint till then, Ankita dropped serve thrice in the second set and was looking down the barrel on dropping serve in the decider, and trailing 1-3.
In a contest that spanned two hours and 26 minutes of intense hitting by both the players, Ankita looked to have found her second wind, as she energetically galloped to the climax. She held serve by saving three breakpoints in the fifth game and broke Yulia in the sixth.
After having suffered a bout of nausea that saw her go to the back of the court to vomit, Ankita played her heart out.
Ankita held serve with ease and eventually broke Yulia in the tenth game, in which there was some drama that culminated in the Kazakh breaking into tears.
Despite the good wins in two singles matches against China and Kazakhstan, the reality is that India has to beat Hong Kong on Friday, to stay in Group-1 for the next season. The last two teams will be relegated to Group-2.
The results (league):
Pool A: Kazakhstan bt India 2-1 (Zarina Diyas bt Karman Kaur Thandi 6-3, 6-2; Yulia Putintseva lost to Ankita Raina 3-6, 6-1, 4-6; Zarina Diyas & Yulia Putintseva bt Ankita Raina & Prarthana Thombare 6-0, 6-4).
China bt Hong Kong 2-1.
Pool B: Japan bt Korea 3-0; Thailand bt ChineseTaipei 2-1.