Fed Cup: Karman Kaur helps India beat Philippines

Karman Kaur Thandi won both her matches to help India defeat Philippines 2-1 in the last league match of the Fed Cup Asia-Oceania Group-1 women’s tennis tournament.

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Karman Kaur Thandi defeated Khim Iglupas 6-1, 6-4 in her singles match and pairing alongside Ankita Raina defeated Khim Iglupas & Katharina Lehnert.   -  Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Karman Kaur Thandi won both her singles and doubles matches to help India tame Philippines 2-1 in the last league match of the Fed Cup Asia-Oceania Group-1 women’s tennis tournament in Astana, Kazakhstan, on Friday.

The first victory after defeats against top teams like Japan and China helped India avoid the relegation play-off. “Our girls felt the pressure of being the better team [on Friday]. Japan and China were very strong. [On Friday], we could have won straight but Katharina did not give much chance for Ankita. In doubles, our girls saved a set point at 3-5 in the second set, before winning in straight sets. Overall, it was a professional performance. It was a pleasure to captain this team,” said Nandan Bal.

It was a commendable fare by India which was depleted in the absence of doubles star Sania Mirza who had opted out owing to an injury. “Karman has a big serve which is a weapon and a forehand that she hits like a hammer. But she needs to work on her second serve, because you are only as good as your second serve. The good thing is not only Karman but Ankita, Snehadevi, Riya and a bunch of youngsters back home are likely to take Indian women’s tennis to the next level,” said Nandan.

Ankita had given a good account of herself in the singles match against China. Nandan felt that Ankita lacked a bit of self belief when the flow was in her favour and opined that more consistent exposure at the higher level would help her get better results.

Host Kazakhstan will play Japan for a berth in the World Group-1 play-off, while Philippines will play Thailand in the relegation play-off from which the loser will move to Group-2 in the region.

The results (league): India beat Philippines 2-1 (Karman Kaur Thandi bt Khim Iglupas 6-1, 6-4; Ankita Raina lost to Katharina Lehnert 3-6, 4-6; Karman Kaur Thandi and Ankita Raina beat Khim Iglupas & Katharina Lehnert 6-4, 7-5).

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