Sania Mirza leads India to Asia/Oceania Group I in Fed Cup

  • IANS, Hyderabad
  • Updated: Apr 21, 2015 19:00 IST

The Sania Mirza-led Indian women's tennis team came out with a gritty performance to beat Philippines 2-1 in the Fed Cup Group II Asia/Oceania promotional playoff final on Saturday to enter Group 1, where they will play in 2016.

In the all-important playoff, India won the first singles rubber before the visitors rallied back to level the contest on the indoor hard courts of the SAAP Tennis Complex.

It all boiled down to the doubles match where World No.1 Sania and Prarthana Thombare helped the home team to win the tie and promote India into Asia/Oceania Group I.

With the victory, India extended their head-to-head against the Philippines to 4-2, having won the last four contests.
First up, Prarthana had an easy 6-3, 6-1 win over Anna Clarice Patrimonio in the first singles rubber, which lasted a little more than an hour.

In the second rubber, Ankita Raina looked well on her way to seal the contest with a 40-minute 6-2 win in the first set.
But the 22-year-old's Filipino opponent Katharina Lehnert displayed pure grit to come back and win the next two sets with the same scoreline of 7-5 and bag the match in two hours and 45 minutes.

The momentum seemed to be with the Philippines when Katharina and Anna joined hands to take a 3-0 lead in the first set of the all-important doubles rubber.

But right then, Sania, who had not played in the April 14-18 tournament so far and had reserved herself for this significant match, showed why she is the World No.1 doubles player.

From 0-3 down, Sania, who partners Swiss Martina Hingis on the WTA Tour, and Prarthana turned the tables on their opponents to clinch the next six games and win the set 6-3 in 36 minutes.

By this time, the Indian girls had made sure they carried the momentum into the second set, which they won 6-3 in another 32 minutes.

India had started the tournament with back-to-back wins against Pakistan and Malaysia in Pool C following which they defeated Turkmenistan in the promotional playoff on Friday.

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