Dubai: The Indian Fed cup team created history by progressing to the playoffs for the first time ever with Ankita Raina leading the side to a 2-1 win over Indonesia.
Ankita on Saturday night pulled off a crucial singles win against talented Aldila Sutjiadi to lock the tie 1-1 after Rutuja Bhosale suffered a crushing defeat against an unranked Priska Madelyn Nugroho.\
Up against the 16-year-old Indonesian, who is ranked 15th on the ITF junior circuit, Rutuja lost 3-6 6-0 3-6 in one hour and 43 minutes in the opening singles.
She then combined with seasoned Sania Mirza to beat Sutziyadi and Nugroho 7-6(4) 6-0 to seal India’s place in the play-offs where they will take on either Latvia or the Netherlands in April.
They overcame a sluggish start as they were trailing 1-4 but regrouped to dominate the decisive set.
Since earning their place back in Asia/Oceania Group I in 2016, India has remained in the regional group and with the rise of Ankita, things began to improve.
India finished second in the six-team Group with four wins in a row after losing the opening tie to China, who remained unbeaten in the tournament.
Rutuja also played a key role as she provided winning starts in a few ties, sharing the burden with Ankita.
Sania’s return to Fed Cup after four years also helped as her inspirational presence and guidance helped the side immensely.