ASTANA, KAZAKHSTAN: Asia/Oceania Zone Group I kicked off with an emphatic victory for the hosts over India, cementing their place as favourites to earn promotion to the World Group II play-offs this year.
Kazakhstan defeated India 3-0 and lost just six games across all three rubbers. The tone was set by world No. 73 Ksenia Pervak, who made light work of the top-ranked Indian Kyra Shroff 61 61 in the first singles rubber to be played in Pool A.
Her teammate, No. 32 Yaroslava Shvedova, then double-bagelled Rishika Sunkara 60 60 to seal a well-deserved victory for the host nation at the National Tennis Centre in Astana.
The whitewash was completed by Sesil Karatantcheva and Galina Voskoboeva as they cruised past Rutuja Bhosale and Ankita Raina 63 61.
In Pool B there were wins for China, P.R.and Uzbekistan over Korea, Rep. and Chinese Taipei respectively.
Wang Qiang got the ball rolling for China, P.R. against Korea’s No. 2 Lee So-Ra. The Chinese player notched her team’s first point in the competition with a 63 63 victory before compatriot Zhou Yi-Miao overcame Han Sung-Lee 63 62 to clinch victory in the tie.
Uzbekistan were made to work hard for their victory over Chinese Taipei but still secured the win at the earliest opportunity. Nigina Abduraimova defeated a player ranked 41 places higher than her by taking out Chan Chin-Wei 62 26 64.
Uzbek No. 1 Akgul Amanmuradova then fought her way past Chang Kai-Chen 62 46 64 to earn victory for her nation.
The doubles rubbers in both these ties were still playing at the time of writing.