New Delhi : Ankita Raina continued her red-hot form with a fluent win after Karman Kaur Thandi’s erratic victory as India blanked Hong Kong 3-0 in the Fed Cup here on Friday.
Karman struggled to contain her unforced errors but prevailed 6-3, 6-4 over Eudice Chong to give India a 1-0 lead in the Asia/Oceania Group I matches.
Up against a lower-ranked opponent, placed a humble 761 in the WTA list, Karman snapped a four-match losing streak. The last time she won a Fed Cup match was exactly a year back when she travelled to Astana, Kazakhstan.
Ankita, who has impressed with her inspirational performance against higher-ranked players, then overcame Ling Zhang 6-3, 6-2 to seal India’s first win of the 2018 season.
In the inconsequential doubles, Prarthana Thombare and Pranjala Yadlapalli defeated Kwan Yau Ng and Ching Hu Wu 6-2, 6-4.
The last time India won a tie 3-0 was in February 2016, against Kazakhstan in Thailand.
On Saturday, India will play Chinese Taipei, the fourth- placed team in Pool B in the relegation Play-off. The winner will remain in Group I and the loser will be relegated to Group II.
The last time India played Chinese Taipei was in February 2011 in Thailand and lost 1-2.
Despite playing some energy-sapping matches in the last two days, Ankita did not let the intensity drop as she kept grinding from the baseline and found some delightful winners. She did not lose a single point on her serve in the first two games and after breaking Zhang in the fourth game, Ankita staved off four breakpoints in the fifth to take a 4-1 lead.
The break stayed with her as she closed the set in the ninth.
To Zhang’s credit, she did play intelligent tennis, often catching Ankita by surprise with her well-calculated drop shots. Zhang, ranked 331, also returned well.
Ankita hit a service return winner to earn two breakpoints and converted the first when Zhang hit a backhand wide to take an early lead in the second set.
She had as many as nine breakpoints to open up a huge lead but a dogged Zhang saved all of them. Ankita created opportunities with several winners at deuce points but every time Zhang came out with deep, angled returns to deny Ankita conversion.