Indians no match for Kiwis in Fed Cup tennis

February 4th, 2009 - 10:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Perth, Feb 4 (IANS) India were off to a dismal start in Fed Cup tennis, losing 0-3 to New Zealand in the Asia Oceania Group-I tie at the State Tennis Centre here Wednesday.Veteran Rushmi Chakravarthy lost 3-6, 0-6 to debutant Dianne Hollands before Ankita Bhambri went down 3-6, 2-6 to World No.57 Marina Erakovic.

The doubles pair of the Bhambri sisters, Ankita and Sanaa, proved no match against Eracovic and Kairangi Vano, losing 2-6, 3-6.

The loss meant that India’s bleak chances to win the group have gone up in smoke. India will now try to do its best to survive in Group I.

India next play Thailand, who shocked Uzbekistan. India’s coach Enrico Piperno said there will be changes in the team combination.

“Sanaa will get a chance to play the singles while Rushmi will be playing doubles with Ankita as I feel Sanaa is cut out to be a singles player and there is not much difference between her and Rushmi,” Piperno told IANS.

The onus was on Rushmi in the first match as Ankita was to play a much higher-ranked opponent.

But Rushmi caved in easily against 25-year-old debutant Hollands, who has spent much of the last two year playing collegiate tennis in US.

With India trailing 0-1, responsibility to pull India out from the troubled waters fell on the highest ranked player the squad, Ankita. But it proved to be a tall order for the 371-ranked Indian against World No.57 Marina Erakovic, who is fresh from her second round appearance at the Australian Open.

Piperno said the girls lacked match practice and had difficulty adjusting to the conditions.

“The girls did not play their best. It is very disappointing for us. Rushmi began well but then could not carry on. She had a tough day and did not serve well. It was also very windy out here. Hollands was much better than what her rankings showed.”

“Ankita did her best but her opponent was a top-100 player. In the doubles we were beaten by a much better team. But to be fair, our girls did not get many matches to play. It was their first tournament in this season and they were rusty.

Piperno said they will try their best to stay in the Group.

“We will next play Indonesia and the fact they beat Uzbekistan means we will have a tough fight. We will give our best. The girls have played the Indonesian team before and are aware of their game.”

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