Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza took to the courts for the first time in the ongoing Fed Cup Asia-Oceania women’s tennis tournament in Dubai and came away with a win.
Paired up with Ankita Raina, Sania Mirza won her doubles match against the South Korean duo of Na Ri Kim and Na-Lae Han 6-4, 6-4 to cap off a day that also saw Rutuja Bhosale win her singles match 7-5, 6-4 earlier.
Sania Mirza takes control on arrival
Sania Mirza was absent in the first two matches of the tournament, against China and Uzbekistan, as Riya Bhatia and Sowjanya Bavisetti handled doubles duty for India.
Paired up with Ankita Raina, Sania Mirza got the set off to a positive start, breaking their opponents twice in the first three games that lasted an hour and 39 minutes.
The South Koreans finally forced their first break on the Indians tennis duo’s serve in the fourth game, but Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina swiftly returned the favour in the fifth.
With the Indian tennis pair now leading 4-1, their eighth game service loss didn’t stand in the way of an eventual 6-4 victory.
The second set saw Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina break their opponents two-to-one to deliver another 6-4 victory.
Rutuja Bhosale maintains her form
Rutuja Bhosale opened the day’s action for India by picking up where she had left off on Wednesday.
Within the first eight games of the opening set, Rutuja Bhosale and Su Jeong Jang traded breaks twice. However, with the score tied at 5 apiece, it was the Korean who cracked first, allowing Bhosale to hold serve in the final game and win 7-5.
The second set saw Rutuja Bhosale and her higher-ranked opponent trade breaks late in the going but an early break, on the third game, ensured Bhosale won 6-4 and put India in the lead of the tie.
Ankita Raina falters
Ankita Raina, however, failed to make it three-for-three for India in the Fed Cup as she struggled against South Korea’s Na-Lae Han in the second rubber.
While the first set saw Ankita Raina get on the backfoot after dropping serve early on, she still put up a semblance of a fight against South Korea’s top-ranked female singles player to finish the set 4-6.
In the second set, however, the Indian tennis ace failed to register even a single point and lost 0-6.
What’s next for India at the Fed Cup
Thursday’s results saw India move up to second in the Fed Cup pool, behind China, who are unbeaten so far in the tournament.
The Indian tennis team will take on Chinese Taipei next, on Friday, and it will be a crucial fixture that could see India seal a spot for April’s Federation Cup playoffs.