Putting up a gutsy show, Ankita Raina went down fighting to world number 29 Qiang Wang after Rutuja Bhosale suffered defeat in the first singles as India lost the Fed Cup tie against China after conceding an unassailable 0-2 lead in the opening league match of the ongoing Fed Cup Asia-Oceania women’s tennis tournament in Dubai.
Pune‘s 23-year-old player Rutuja started the proceedings for India and locked horns against China’s 35th-ranked Shuai Zhang in the world rankings. Rutuja initially led 3–1 in the first set, but the Chinese player displayed her talent to show the India Shuai eventually won the match 6–4 6–2, lasting an hour and 16 minutes.
With Rituja’s loss, the pressure to keep India in the fray was on the 27-year-old Ankita, ranked 160 in the world. Ankita did stun everyone and gave a scare to Wang by winning the first set 6-1. However, the Indian could not keep the pressure on her opponent as the Chinese bounced back winning the second and third set to take the match 6-1 2-6 4-6 and help her team to a 2-0 unassailable lead.
Ankita gave a tough fight to Wang, who had defeated Serena Williams in the third round of the Australian Open earlier this year, in a match that lasted two hours and 24 minutes.
Ankita managed to take 3-1 lead after Indian had a break chance in the fourth game but the Chinese saved that with an ace. Ankita surprised all the audience as she consolidated her position by breaking Qiang at love to serve out the set.
Ankita once again looked good in the second game as she broke her opponent in the first game of the second set but soon she needed medical attention and thus this broke her momentum which resulted in the favour of the Chinese as Ankita lost the second set.
However, the Indian did not allow her opponent to just take away the game. Ankita broke her superior rival twice in the third set too but her effort could not take her past the finish line as she lost the decisive third set.
Despite the defeat, the Indian team will still have to play four matches against Uzbekistan, Korea, Chinese Taipei, and Indonesia in the Round Robin League.