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Ankita Raina shines with two wins as India creates Fed Cup history

Ankita Raina on Saturday night pulled off a crucial singles win against Indonesia's Aldila Sutjiadi to help India win their Fed Cup tie 2-1.

PTI PTI
Dubai Published on: March 08, 2020 10:35 IST
Ankita Raina
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Ankita Raina shines with two wins as India creates Fed Cup history

The Indian Fed Cup team created history by progressing to the play-offs for the first time ever with Ankita Raina leading the side to a 2-1 win over Indonesia, here.

Ankita on Saturday night pulled off a crucial singles win against talented Aldila Sutjiadi to lock the tie 1-1 after Rutuja Bhosale suffered a crushing defeat against an unranked Priska Madelyn Nugroho.

Up against the 16-year-old Indonesian, who is ranked 15th on the ITF junior circuit, Rutuja lost 3-6 6-0 3-6 in one hour and 43 minutes in the opening singles. Ankita, who lost her previous two singles, demolished the challenge of Sutjiadi 6-3 6-3 in the second rubber.

She then combined with seasoned Sania Mirza to beat Sutziyadi and Nugroho 7-6(4) 6-0 to seal India's place in the play-offs where they will take on either Latvia or the Netherlands in April.

They overcame a sluggish start as they were trailing 1-4 but regrouped to dominate the decisive set.

India finished second in the six-team Group with four wins in a row after losing the opening tie to China, who remained unbeaten in the tournament.

Since earning their place back in Asia/Oceania Group I in 2016, India has remained in the regional group.

With the rise of Ankita, things began to improve.

Rutuja also played a key role as she provided winning starts in a few ties, sharing the burden with Ankita.

Sania's return to Fed Cup after four years also helped as her inspirational presence and guidance helped the side immensely.

India's non-playing captain Vishal Uppal is delighted with the result.

"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," Uppal told PTI.

"The key was to do the fundamentals well and keep it simple on court. As a team everyone stepped up one day or the other which is very important. I hope this win will give a big boost to women's tennis in India."

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