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India is all set to begin her Fed Cup Campaign

India is all set to begin her Fed Cup Campaign

Imtiaz Azad

Published: 7 Feb 2018 12:36 AM GMT
Ahead of India's Fed Cup Asia-Oceania group-1 tennis opener against China, captain Ankita Bhambri on Tuesday expressed confidence about her team, and said there is more depth in the current set-up. Ankita also advised the current Indian squad comprising Ankita Raina, Karman Kaur Thandi, Prarthana Thombare and Pranjala Yadlapalli, that the tournament, will not be an easy affair. Asked whether the absence of India's women's doubles star Sania Mirza would affect the morale of the side, Ankita said: "Sania is one of the greatest tennis players in the country, her presence would surely have been a confidence booster." The tournament could be an important stage for the 19-year-old Karman, who will open the Indian campaign against the Chinese No.2, Yafan Wang, ranked 158 in the world.
Ankita, ranked 259, had a few interesting matches against the Chinese No.1 Lin Zhu, ranked 115 in the world, and seems prepared to record the first win against her. In doubles, Prarthana has displayed impressive performances in the WTA circuit, reaching a rank of 130 while Pranjala is ready to play if pressed into service. Commenting on the advantage of playing at home, Ankita, who served as the coach of the women's team during the Asian Indoor Games last year, pointed out that the Indian girls keep playing around the world, and less at home. India will play Kazakhstan on the second day of the tournament. Kazakhstan has the best two players among the eight teams -- Yuliya Putintseva and Zarina Diyas, ranked 50 and 60 respectively. The team had qualified for the World Group-2 playoff last time when it hosted the Asia-Oceania competition but lost to Canada. Afte Kazakhstan, India will face Hong Kong. The other group has Chinese Taipei, Thailand, Korea and Japan. The top teams from the two groups will meet in the final to decide the team progressing to the World Group-2 play-off. The bottom teams from the two groups will be relegated to group-2. The primary task for most of the teams, including the host, would be to retain their place in Group-1.
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