Thailand came within one game of causing a monumental upset at the National Tennis Centre in Astana on Thursday as they pushed the hosts to the limits.
After Ksenia Pervak had got Kazakhstan off to the perfect start by defeating Nudnida Luangnam 60 61 in the opening singles rubber in Pool A, there was a shock victory for Thailand’s No. 1 in the second match.
Luksika Kumkhum, ranked No. 148 in the world and fresh from her successful qualification and 1st round victory at the Australian Open, produced the biggest upset of the competition so far by taking down world No. 32 Yaroslava Shvedova 06 64 64.
The remarkable comeback from a first-set bagel gave her team-mates the belief they needed to go out full of confidence in the doubles rubber and, for Shvedova at least, a chance at redemption nearly came undone when the Thai pairing of Noppawan Lertcheewakarn and Varatchava Wongteanchai stole the first set 62.
The shock loss of the host nation and favourites for promotion was not meant to be, however, as Shvedova and Galina Voskoboeva regrouped and ended up victorious 26 62 60 much to the relief of the rest of the team.
In Pool B, Uzbekistan put themselves in a strong position to earn the other promotion play-off position after they battled past China, P.R. 2-1 thanks to victories in both the singles rubbers for Nigina Abduraimova and Akgul Amanmuradova against Tang Hao Chen and Wang Qiang respectively.
The Chinese pair did earn a consolation victory against Uzbekistan’s Arina Folts and Sabina Sharipova 61 63 in the dead doubles rubber.
Chinese Taipei scored their first win of the round-robin stages with a 3-0 victory over Korea, Rep. Chan Chin-Wei toppled Lee So-Ra 46 61 62 before Chang Kai-Chen defeated Han Sung-Lee 60 46 63.
Chang and Lee Hua-Chen completed the whitewash with a 62 64 win in the doubles rubber against Kang Seo-Kyung and Yoo Mi.
Play continues tomorrow.
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