India opened against the top-ranked team in the field, China, which consists of three Top 50 players on the WTA rankings, in the opening match of the Fed Cup Asia-Oceanic Women’s tennis tournament. The Chinese team had not returned home after the Australian Open due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Before the match, the Indian team captain, Vishaal Uppal, said, “China is the toughest team and playing it first could actually be a good thing for us.” He also added, “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.”
Six countries, including China, will be competing in this tournament that was initially scheduled in China but later shifted due to coronavirus outbreak. The six nations will play against each other once and the top two finishers in the pool will advance to the playoffs to be held in April.
The fifth and sixth place will pass on to Group II for 2021.
India lies in Group I of the tournament along with China, Uzbekistan, Korea Republic, Indonesia, and Chinese Taipei. In their first match against China, World no. 433, Rutuja Bhosale fought her heart out before losing to world no. 35, Shuai Zhang in the first singles. The 23-year-old went down to the Chinese player, 4-6,2-6 in one hour and sixteen minutes, and China took a lead of 1-0.
In the second singles, World no. 160, Ankita Raina put up a strong performance against world No. 29, Qiang Wang but eventually lost 1-6, 6-2,6-4, to China’s top player in two hours and twenty-four minutes with China leading 2-0.
In the third rubber, the Indian doubles pair comprised of Riya Bhatia and 26-year-old Sowjanya Bavisetti. However, China’s Shuai Peng and YiFan Xu beat the Indian pair 6-0, 6-1 in a match that lasted for 50 minutes with China winning their first match 3-0.
India will play its next match against Uzbekistan, who started the tournament with a 0-3 defeat against Korea.
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