Newly-crowned doubles World No. 1 Sania Mirza led India to victory in the final of the Fed Cup Asia/Oceania Zone Group II Promotional Playoff at the SAAP Tennis Complex in Hyderabad on Saturday. India were tied with Philippines 1-1 at the end of the two singles rubbers. World No. 481 Prarthana Thombare had opened India’s account by scoring a win in the first singles rubber while the top-ranked Indian singles player, Ankita Raina was edged out in a nail-biting encounter in the second singles rubber. It was finally left on the shoulders of Sania Mirza and Prarthana Thombare to deliver the win and the smiles to the home team.
This 2-1 triumph ensures India will be promoted to Fed Cup Asia/Oceania Zone Group I in 2016.
Prarthana Thombare makes light work of Anna Clarice Patrimonio
The first match saw Thombare face off against Patrimonio. Prarthana was at her dominant best once again. Her magnificent groundstrokes saw her secure the first break of serve as she pulled ahead 2-0 in a few minutes.
In a little over an hour, Thombare had clinched the first set 6-3. The second set saw Thombare begin in the same manner. Identical to the first set, the 20-year-old Indian wrapped up the match 6-3, 6-1, thus giving the Indians a healthy 1-0 lead.
Ankita Raina squanders lead; Philippines draw level
The second match saw Ankita Raina take on Katharina Lehnert. Raina was up 6-2, 4-1 and looked to be on her way to a comfortable victory. But the Filipino put up a gutsy display to save a match point and clinch the second set 7-5.
The third set was a mirror-image of the second as the Indian once again had the early advantage. Ankita broke in the seventh game to inch ahead 4-3 and even served for the match at 5-3. But a resilient Lehnert broke her back to take the win 2-6, 7-5, 7-5.
Sania Mirza helps promote India to Fed Cup Asia/Oceania Group I
Sania Mirza and Prarthana Thombare teamed up for the decisive doubles rubber. The duo who had won a bronze at the 2014 Asian Games, were initially down 0-3 against the pair of Katharina Lehnert and Anna Clarice Patrimonio. Much to the delight of the home crowd, the Indian pair regrouped and won 8 games on the trot to have a healthy lead of 6-3, 2-0. Sania and Prarthana wrapped up the match 6-3, 6-3 that sealed the win for India.