India strengthened its chances of staying in group-1 with a 3-0 victory over Hong Kong in the FedCup Asia-Oceania women’s tennis tournament at the DLTA Complex here on Friday.

While it was no surprise that Ankita Raina continued to assert her solid game, the wiry Karman Kaur Thandi recaptured a semblance of her high quality game to prepare the host for the play-off to be played on Saturday, against the fourth placed team in the other group, Chinese

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There was more positive response to the challenge ahead from the team as the former Asian junior champion Pranjala Yadlapalli, paired with Prarthana Thombare for the doubles, gave a fine account of her big serves and sharp game at the net.

Ankita overcomes dogged Zhang

More than playing a fluent game, built solidly on her quick silver feet, the 25-year-old Ankita showed a high degree of concentration and stayed positive despite the tough phases against a quality opponent like LIng Zhang who was once ranked in the top-200.

Ankita saved four breakpoints in the fifth game of the first set to stay ahead. In the second set also, she won an early break, but Zhang showed a fine game to survive nine breakpoints in holding serve in the fifth game.

Unperturbed Ankita broke her in the seventh game and served out the match, surviving two breakpoints along the way.

Erratic Karman spared blushes

It was important for India to step up, after Ankita alone had won a point against China and Kazakhstan. However, it had to be conceded that after meeting high quality players of China and Kazakhstan, Karman got a lot of time to play her shots and build on the confidence
with explosive serves against the 761st ranked Eudice Chong, who studies in the US.

Of course, it took some time for the 284th ranked Karman to get into her rhythm, as she dropped serve twice in the first set and early in the second set. The difference from the earlier matches was that Karman had more faith in her game this day.

It should be an interesting match on Saturday, even though Taipei has not won more than one singles in all from its three matches in the pool, against formidable teams like Japan, Thailand and Korea.

The results:

India bt Hong Kong 3-0 (Karman Kaur Thandi bt Eudice Wong Chong 6-3, 6-4; Ankita Raina bt Ling Zhang 6-3, 6-2; Prarthana Thombare & Pranjala Yadlapalli bt Kwan You Ng & Ho Ching Wu 6-2, 6-4).

Kazakhstan bt China 3-0 (Zarina Diyas bt Zhaoxuan Yang 7-5, 6-2; Yulia Putintseva bt Yafan Wang 6-4, 4-6, 6-1; Gozal Ainitdinova & Zhibek Kulambayeva w.o. Yafan Wang & Zhaoxuan Yang).


Japan bt Chinese Taipei 3-0 (Miyu Kato bt Ching Wen Hsu 6-2, 6-1; Nao HIbino bt Chieh-Yu Hsu 7-6(8), 6-4; Miyu Kato & Makoto Ninomiya bt Ching Wen Hsu & Ya-Hsuan Lee 6-2, 7-6(1)).

Korea bt Thailand 2-1 (Jeong Sunam bt Nicha Lertpitaksinchai 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-0; Han Na-Lae lost to Luksika Kumkhum 0-6, 6-2, 5-7; Han Na-Lae & Kim Na Ri bt Luksika Kumkhum & Peangtarn Plipuech 5-7, 7-6(3), 6-3)