ASTANA, KAZAKHSTAN: Uzbekistan sealed their place in the Promotion play-off today courtesy of a 2-1 victory over Korea, Rep. They were forced to do it the hard way, however, after falling 1-0 behind when So-Ra Lee defeated Arina Folts 63 76(2). That meant that Sabine Sharipova had to win for Uzbekistan to stay in the tie. The first set went to a tiebreak which Sharipova won 7-5, before winning the second set 63 to force the tie into a deciding doubles rubber.
First blood went to the Koreans as Seo-Kyung Kang and Mi Yoo won the first set at a canter 62. The Uzbek duo of Nigina Abduraimova and Akgul Amanmuradova would not give in however and fought back to claim the second set 61. That meant that the whole tie came down to the final set of the final rubber, and Uzbekistan won it 63 to set up a meeting with Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan’s route to the play-off was much easier, having already booked their place yesterday with a win over Thailand.
Korea’s defeat at the hands of Uzbekistan also means that they will now be forced into a Relegation play-off against India.
India are into the Relegation play-off after suffering their second 3-0 defeat of the year, this time at the hands of Thailand. The first match saw Thailand’s No. 2, Nudnida Luangnam take on India’s lowest-ranked player Rutuja Bhosale.
With almost 400 places separating the two players in the rankings, it came as no surprise when Luangnam won the first set 61. Bhosale showed great character, however, to fight back and took the second set 63, forcing the rubber into a deciding set. Unfortunately for the Indians, Bhosale could not maintain the same level of play, and Luangnam won the third set 61 to seal a 61 36 61 victory.
The second match saw Luksika Kumkhum, who showed great class to upstage Yaroslava Shvedova on Thursday, take on Kyra Shroff. There was no sniff of an upset in this one though, as Kumkhum raced to a 60 60 win, and sealed victory for Thailand.
The doubles still needed to be played, however, and Noppawan Lertcheewakarn and Varatchaya Wongteanchai had very little difficulty seeing off Ankita Raina and Rishika Sunkara 61 63.
Korea will be favourites to win the Relegation play-off because they suffered two narrow losses whereas India have suffered two heavy defeats, but the beauty of Fed Cup is that it is not always the favourites who prevail.
The other match today saw China take on Chinese Taipei. China were pushing for a place in the Promotion play-off and knew that they would need a 3-0 victory if they were to stand any chance of getting there.
Hao Chen Tang was chosen to get the team off to the perfect start but she started slowly, allowing her opponent, Chin-Wei Chan, to take the first set 7-5 in a tiebreak. Tang started to up her game after that first set and took the second set 64. That broke Chan’s resilience and Tang took the final set 61 to give China a 1-0 lead.
The second rubber saw China’s Qiang Wang take on Chinese Taipei’s top player, Kai-Chen Chang. As in the first rubber, the first set went to a tiebreak. This time, however, it was the Chinese player who won it, giving Wang a 1-0 lead. A crucial break of serve in the second set was all that was needed for Wang to take that as well, sealing a 76(4) 63 victory.
That win sealed China’s victory, but the players knew they still had to give it their all in the doubles, which they did. Hao Chen Tang and Yi-Miao Zhou defeated Chin-Wei Chan and Kai-Chen Chang 63 64 to secure China’s 3-0 victory. Ultimately though, it was not enough to reach the Promotion play-off, but they will play the 3-4th place play-off tomorrow, against Thailand.
Click the link below for more information about Asia/Oceania Zone Group I, including individual results from each tie.
- Asia/Oceania Zone Group I