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Billie Jean King Cup: Ankita Raina-led Indian side starts off with a 0-3 loss to Japan

Devoid of Sania Mirza and Karman Kaur Thandi, the Indian women's tennis team suffered a crushing loss against Japan at the Billie Jean King Cup. They take on China next.

Ankita Raina Billie Jean King Cup

Ankita Raina (Source: Latvian Tennis Union)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 13 April 2022 5:56 AM GMT

The Indian women's tennis team, led by Ankita Raina, started their campaign at the Billie Jean King Cup in the Group 1 Asia/Oceania tie on the clay courts of the MTA Tennis Academy in Antalya, Turkey but couldn't manage to get off to the right start and lost 0-3 to a stronger Japanese side.

Vying for a place in the play-offs, the Indian women's tennis team comprising the country's highest-ranked female singles tennis player, Ankita Raina (singles-319) alongside Sowjanya Bavisetti (singles-589), Riya Bhatia (singles-463) and Rutuja Bhosale (singles-477) failed to make an impression against Japan, losing the tie wholly.

With veteran Sania Mirza also pulling out of the squad at the eleventh hour after her Charleston Open runners-up finish, the onus has naturally fallen on Raina to lead the pack against Asian powerhouses.

Furthermore, India's second-highest ranked singles player, Karman Kaur Thandi also had to give the Billie Jean King Cup a miss after she withdrew citing a wrist injury, making the job more difficult for Raina and co.

India will take on five teams - China, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, and New Zealand during the 12th April - 16th April span.

With Japan already having thrashed the Indian side 0-3, the Vishal Uppal-captained side will have to step up their game.

Against Japan, Rutuja Bhosale took on Yuki Naito (singles-229) and was served a bagel in the first set before she did a little better in the second, losing 6-0, 6-4. Ankita Raina took on Mai Hontama (singles-129) and lost with a mirror score of 6-4, 6-4, despite putting on a good fight. In the final rubber, the women's doubles duo of Sowjanya Bavisetti and Riya Bhatia were also served a bagel in the first set before they went on to lose, 6-0, 6-4 against Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara.

Next up, India will be taking on China which again, boasts of higher-ranked players than the Indian side with the likes of Wang Qiang, Zhu Lin, Yuan Yue, Yang Zhaoxuan and Xu Yifan present on the Feng Liu-captained Chinese side.

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