Billie Jean King Cup: India finishes third, retains place in Asia/Oceania Group I
The Indian women's tennis team brought their Billie Jean King Cup 2022 campaign to an end with a win over South Korea and finished 3rd on the group rankings.
The Indian women's tennis team comprising Ankita Raina, Rutuja Bhosale, Riya Bhatia and Sowjanya Bavisetti concluded their outing at the Billie Jean King Cup 2022 with a third-straight victory and finished third, as well, in the Asia/Oceania Group I.
Having suffered two back-to-back losses against Asian powerhouses Japan and China in their initial group matches, the Ankita Raina-led team bounced back in style and produced strong performances against Indonesia (2-1), New Zealand (2-1) and finally South Korea (2-1) to stay at the third place in the group standings.
With this, India has prevented itself from being relegated to Group II, thanks to the trio of victories by the Indian women's tennis team, who clearly felt the absence of veteran Sania Mirza on their squad at their outing at the MTA Tennis Academy in Antalya, Turkey.
For the tie against South Korea, Riya Bhatia, who replaced Rutuja Bhosale for the singles opener, defeated 1535-ranked Kim Na Ri 6-3, 2-6, 6-3. Bhatia, who is ranked as the World No. 463 was broken early in the first set but found her rhythm soon as the match progressed on late Saturday.
On the other hand, India's highest-ranked women's singles player Ankita Raina took on World No. 583 Kim Da Bin. The Tokyo-returned Raina, ranked 319, had the upper hand against her South Korean opponent from the start and won the match 6-2, 6-3 comprehensively to put India in a safe place.
In the doubles, the Sowjanya Bavisetti and Riya Bhatia pair lost the dead rubber to Han Na Lae and Kim Na Ri 1-6, 3-6. Notably, without Mirza, India failed to register a single win in the doubles across all five ties, which should be a slight point of concern.
The Billie Jean King Cup, which was earlier known as the Fed Cup, has seen India coming second in the group stage previously in 2020, where they had qualified for the maiden World Group play-offs. However, the Indian team had lost to Latvia (3-1) in it and were put back into Group I, a position they have managed to retain again courtesy their performance on the clay courts of Turkey.