All eyes on Ankita and Karman as Fed Cup begins

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 07 Feb 2018 10:24:58



IT WILL be an uphill task for Ankita Raina and Karman Kaur Thandi to catapult India to the Fed Cup World Group Play-offs but the spirited youngsters are expected to push their rivals in the Asia/Oceania Group I competition, beginning here on Wednesday.

India have not qualified for the Fed Cup World Group since 1991 and presence of strong teams such as Kazakhstan, who have top-60 players in their ranks, and China in Pool A means that the job remains tough.

Both Ankita and Karman had decent, if not great, 2017 season during which they were consistent on the ITF circuit. Ankita also reached the singles finals at the USD 60,000 event in Luan.

Ankita has the experience of tackling top-125 players and knows what is required to pull off matches in this competition. Being the number one and most experienced player from the host team, Ankita will carry a lot of expectations on her shoulders.

But she appears confident and is raring to pull off a good performance. “We are very positive going into this tie. We have upcoming players in the team and that will be a surprise factor for other teams. And the way I am playing, I am pretty confident about good results,” Raina told PTI after a practice session.

It will be a tough and challenging first day of the tournament for India as the hosts are up against China in their campaign opener. Raina will lock horns with world number 120 Lin Zhu, to whom she had lost the title clash of the Luan event in May, last year. “There is not much difference in the level of players on the ITF circuit and players on some of the WTA events.