Fed Cup: All eyes on Ankita Raina, Karman Kaur as India start their campaign

Astana (Kazakhstan): India Fed Cup coach Ankita Bhambri reckons a good serve will be the key on indoor courts when Ankita Raina and Karman Kaur Thandi fight it out with higher-ranked players in the Fed Cup here. India will begin their campaign at the Asia/Oceania Group I against Thailand on Thursday before clashing with formidable hosts Kazakhstan on Friday.

Getting past Thailand is not expected to be too hard for India with Ankita and fast-improving Karman in good form. Thailand’s best-ranked singles player is Peangtarn Plipuech, who is placed at 297 while Punnin Kovapitukted is way lower at number 657. “To be very honest, the girls are improving every year. Karman is stronger and fitter while Ankita is also strong and has more experience. They need to put it together,” said Bhambri.

The matches will be played indoors due to the sub-zero temperature in the city. “It is important to serve well (indoor) and reach out to the ball faster. If you start a point well, the chances of ending it well also get better,” Bhambri said. Kazakhstan’s world number 43 Yulia Putintseva and Zarina Diyas, ranked 96, would be the tough obstacles for India, if they are to top Pool A. The winners of Pool A and B, which has four teams, will clash to determine which nation qualifies for the World Group II. “It’s always tough to play top-100 players. Ankita had played the match of her life against Yulia last year.

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