On the second day of the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Asia/Oceania Zone Group I event in Nonthaburi, near Bangkok, China edged host nation Thailand 2-1 to give itself a great chance of finishing top of Pool A.
The odds were stacked in China’s favour, as Thailand had only ever defeated today’s opponent once in eight previous meetings. In the opening singles rubber, China's Haochen Tang took on Nungnadda Wannasuk, who is ranked No. 475. Both players came out firing on all cylinders and the first set had to be decided by a tiebreak, which went the way of Wannasuk.
In the second set, the Thai player had to call for the trainer due to cramp in her right leg, but she persevered and managed to break her opponent in the eighth game. The perfect start for the hosts was not meant to be, however, as Wannasuk was forced to retire shortly after.
The up-and-coming Noppawan Lertcheewakarn from Thailand was next on court. She came through 63 46 61 against Jing-Jing Lu to force the decisive doubles rubber. The Chinese pair of Lu and Tang proved too good for Lertcheewakarn and Nicha Lertpitaksinchai, pulling away 76(1) 63 to clinch China’s second point.
“We got lucky in the first singles match today, as Wannasuk got injured as we were about to lose that match,” said China’s No. 1 Lu. “I didn’t get much rest between playing my singles and appearing on court for the doubles, but we played well as a team today. If we are going to win this event, we need to beat Uzbekistan tomorrow. Even though we have already won two matches, anything can happen."
Thailand’s captain Vittaya Samrej accepted that he couldn’t control the injuries to his athletes when surmising: “Nungnadda got cramp in her right leg. Although she tried to keep playing, she couldn’t stand it any longer and gave up as a result. It is just one of those things that happens in sport, especially tennis. However, our team is still playing tomorrow and if we can win the match 3-0 and China loses to Uzbekistan we can still win the pool.”
Uzbekistan floors India
Elsewhere today, Uzbekistan defeated India 2-1. In the first singles match, Uzbekistan’s Sabina Sharipova easily overcame Poojashree Venkatesh from India 61 62. Former top 30 player Sania Mirza then levelled the scores between the teams by defeating Nigina Abduraimova 64 61. In the decisive doubles, Abduraimova partnered Albina Khabibulina for Uzbekistan. They lost the first set before storming back to beat Mirza and Rushmi Chakravarthi 26 63 63.
"Today, I knew that we would be forced to play all three rubbers because Mirza is a very good player in singles,” said Uzbekistan captain Dmitriy Tomashevich. “We played a good doubles match but it was tough for us. Tomorrow we have to play China and that’s another tough match for us but we will still try our best.”
China plays Uzbekistan tomorrow knowing that victory will leave them top of Pool A, while Thailand has all to play for against India.
Uzbekistan 2-1 India
Sabina Sharipova (UZB) d. Poojashree Venkatesha (IND) 61 62
Sania Mirza (IND) d. Nigina Abduraimova (UZB) 64 61
Nigina Abduraimova / Albina Khabibulina (UZB) d. Rushmi Chakravarthi / Sania Mirza (IND) 26 63 63
China, P.R. 2-1 Thailand
Hao Chen Tang (CHN) d. Nungnadda Wannasuk (THA) 67(5) 65 ret. (leg cramping)
Noppawan Lertcheewakarn (THA) d. Jing-Jing Lu (CHN) 63 46 61
Jing-Jing Lu / Hao Chen Tang (CHN) d. Noppawan Lertcheewakarn / Nicha Lertpitaksinchai (THA) 76(1) 63
In Pool B, last year’s winners of this event, Japan, easily defeated Korea 3-0. In the first singles match, world No. 109 Junri Namigata saw off the challenge from No. 671 Hyun-Hui Hong 62 64. Japan's Ayumi Morita, the world No. 58, followed suit against Korea’s Na-Ri Kim, winning 75 61, before the doubles pair of Rika Fujiwara and Namigata ensured Japan completed a faultless performance, overcoming Hyun-Hui Hong and So-Jung Kim 75 64.
“We played better than yesterday,” said Japan’s captain Takeshi Murakami. “We won both our singles and the doubles. Now we have a chance to be in the final of this event but every team in pool A is a good team: China, Uzbekistan and Thailand. If we can make it, we can go back to the World Group II play-offs again. But now, we need to look after our players since the weather is very hot for us.”
Il Soon Kim, captain of Korea’s team, was resigned to the fact that his team would not be earning promotion from Group I this year.
“To be the top of the pool is very difficult now,” he said. “But I'm impressed by my team’s performance. Tomorrow, we need Ye-Ra Lee, who picked up an injury yesterday, to come back if we are to have a chance of finishing second in the group.”
Kazakhstan bounces back
Kazakhstan, which lost yesterday’s match against Japan, came back to win against Chinese Taipei 3-0. Zarina Diyas defeated Ting-Fei Juan 60 62 in the opening singles rubber and Kazakhstan’s No.1 Sessil Karantancheva overcame Chin-Wei Chan 76(8) 62 in the second match of the day. In the doubles, Karantancheva and Galina Voskoboeva trounced Ting-Fei Juan and Yui-Lynn Miao 62 61.
Kazakhstan’s captain Yegor Shaldunov said: “Yesterday we lost to Japan 2-1. Today the weather was even hotter, but we won 3-0. Tomorrow, our goal is to beat Korea to get the second place in the group and to stay in Group I in 2012.”
Tomorrow, Japan plays Chinese Taipei and Kazakhstan meets Korea.
Japan 3-0 Korea, Rep.
Junri Namigata (JPN) d. Hyun-Hui Hong (KOR) 62 64
Ayumi Morita (JPN) d. Na Ri Kim (KOR) 75 61
Rika Fujiwara / Junri Namigata (JPN) d. Hyun-Hui Hong / So-Jung Kim (KOR) 75 64
Kazakhstan 3-0 Chinese Taipei
Zarina Diyas (KAZ) d. Ting-Fei Juan (TPE) 60 62
Sessil Karatantcheva (KAZ) d. Chin-Wei Chan (TPE) 76(8) 62
Sessil Karatantcheva / Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) d. Ting-Fei Juan / Yui-Lynn Miao (TPE) 62 61
- Asia/Oceania Zone Group I
ASIA/OCEANIA ZONE GROUP II
Indonesia and Hong Kong, China look set to meet each other on Saturday for a chance to play for promotion, after both nations recorded their second straight win on Thursday. The Group II event is running at the same time and venue in Nonthaburi.
Indonesia 3-0 Pakistan
Ayu-Fani Damayanti (INA) d. Ushna Suhail (PAK) 61 60
Lavinia Tananta (INA) d. Sarah Mahboob Khan (PAK) 60 61
Yayuk Basuki / Jessy Rompies (INA) d. Saba Aziz / Sara Mansoor (PAK) 60 60
Philippines 3-0 Kyrgyzstan
Tamitha Nguyen (PHI) d. Alena Panfilova (KGZ) 60 60
Anna Clarice Patrimonio (PHI) d. Zhamilia Duisheeva (KGZ) 61 61
Anna Christine Patrimonio / Marinel Rudas (PHI) d. Alena Panfilova / Emilia Tenizbaeva (KGZ) 60 60
Hong Kong, China 3-0 Singapore
Katherine Ip (HKG) d. Clare Fong (SIN) 60 60
Ling Zhang (HKG) d. Stefanie Tan (SIN) 63 62
Ho Ching Wu / Ling Zhang (HKG) d. Clare Fong / Khee Yen Wee (SIN) 60 60
Turkmenistan 3-0 Oman
Jenneta Halliyeva (TKM) d. Maliha Al-Awaidy (OMA) 61 60
Anastasiya Prenko (TKM) d. Fatma Al Nabhani (OMA) 46 76(10) 64
Ayna Ereshova / Amangul Mollayeva (TKM) d. Sarah Al Balushi / Maliha Al-Awaidy (OMA) 62 63
- Asia/Oceania Zone Group II