Ankita braces for Fed Cup test

Twenty-five-year-old Ankita Raina is looking forward to playing her best in the upcoming Fed Cup Asia-Oceania matches that are set to begin on Wednesday.

Ankita Raina will play a key role in India's Fed Cup campaign.   -  Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury

Ankita Raina, happy with herself and the quality of her tennis, said she was looking forward to playing her best in the upcoming Fed Cup Asia-Oceania group-1 competition that is set to begin at the R. K. Khanna Stadium here from Wednesday.

Having won a round in the qualifying event of the $250,000 WTA tournament in Chinese Taipei last week, the 25-year-old Ankita said she was glad to have devoted three weeks in the off-season for training in Pune with coach Hemant Bendre and trainer Gaurav Nijhon.

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"After not having played tournaments for some time, one is nervous to get through the first match. I was lucky, as the opponent had reached only 15 minutes before her match from France. I took advantage of that. Even though she was (ranked) around 400 in singles, she was around 100 in doubles.

"In the second match, I started off well and was up 2-0 and the opponent was not getting her rhythm. I realised the importance of the third game later, after I missed the chance. I am happy to be analysing my opponents and their game. Overall, I am happy with the quality of my game," said Ankita, before her evening session at the R. K. Khanna Stadium on Sunday.

Looking at the challenges of playing Kazakhstan, China and Hong Kong in the group, Ankita said that they were all regulars on the circuit, and she had played many of them."It sure is an advantage to play Fed Cup at home", she added.

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She conceded that it was difficult to make an observation before the tie, and said that the key was to keep an open mind and play one’s best game irrespective of the opposition.

The 258th ranked Ankita, who had made the quarterfinals of the $125,000 WTA event in Mumbai in November, recalled her meetings with Lin Zhu of China.

"I lost 4-6 in the third set to her twice last year, including the Fed Cup. I had lost to her in the third set in 2014 also in Indonesia. I know what she does in the third set. She takes medical time out. I will be better prepared this time," said Ankita with a smile.

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