India’s young brigade gave a mighty scare to China before losing both of their women’s singles ties on Fed Cup 2020 on Tuesday. Ankita fought her heart out before losing to world number 29 Qiang Wang after Rutuja suffered defeat in the first singles as China took an unassailable 2-0 lead versus India. Also Read - French Open 2021 LIVE Rafael Nadal vs Novak Djokovic Semifinal: Prediction, Time, H2H, Preview, When And Where to Watch Nadal vs Djokovic Live TV Broadcast, Online Live Streaming, Match Time in IST
Rutuja fought her heart out before losing 4-6, 2-6 to world number 35 Shuai Zhang in the first singles. The onus to bring the team back in the contest was on India number one Ankita and she stunned her rival by taking the first set in a jiffy but eventually lost 6-1, 2-6, 4-6 after battling hard for two hours and 24 minutes. Also Read - French Open 2021 Results: Barbora Krejcikova Beats Maria Sakkari in 3-Set Thriller to Set up 1st Grand Slam Final Versus Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
The doubles rubber has been rendered inconsequential. India will take on Uzbekistan on Wednesday. Also Read - Bopanna-Skugor Pairing Advances to French Open Quarterfinals
Ankita was up against someone, who had defeated Serena Williams in the third round of the Australian Open in January.
The Indian had a break chance in the fourth game but the Chinese saved that with an ace. Ankita kept the pressure with her sharp returns and converted the second chance to go up 3-1.
After an easy hold, Ankita consolidated her position by breaking Qiang at love and served out the set, much to the surprise of the gathering.
She broke the Chinese in the first game of the second set but required a medical time out soon after. It broke the momentum and she went on to lose the second set.
However, she is not the one who throws the towel easily. Twice she broke her superior rival but her effort could not take her past the finish line as she lost the decisive third set.
Earlier, the 23-year-old Rutuja from Pune led 3-1 with an early break of serve but Shuai showed why she is a top-50 player as the Chinese won the match 6-4 6-2 in one hour and 16 minutes.
Shuai, who reached the Australian Open third round where she lost to eventual champion Sofia Kenin, broke Rutuja early in the second set to race to a 3-1 lead and never looked back.
To her credit, the 433rd ranked Rutuja gave her all in the contest as captain Vishal Uppal preferred her ahead of higher-ranked Riya Bhatia (388), who is yet to play a singles match in Fed Cup. Riya lost the two doubles matches she played in 2017 (against China) and 2019 (against Kazakhstan).
The top two teams in the six-nation Asia/Oceania Group I will qualify for the Play-offs, to be held next month.
(With PTI Inputs)