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BJK Cup: Raina, Thandi lose, India 0-2 down against Latvia

Source : IANS 2021-04-17 14:15:21


India's top-ranked singles tennis player Ankita Raina and young Karman Kaur Thandi lost their opening matches in the Billie Jean King Cup play-off tie to Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko and Anastasija Sevastova, respectively to begin their campaign on a disappointing note.

While Ostapenko was made to work hard for her 6-2, 5-7, 7-5 win over Raina in a match where the home favourite committed a lot of unforced errors, Latvian No. 1 Sevastova, ranked 47, posted a 6-4, 6-0 win over Thandi, ranked No. 691.

India are playing at this stage of the competition for the first time and on paper are the clear underdogs.

While Raina pushed her opponent all the way with some scintillating hitting on both sides, Ostapenko's experience at the highest level was enough to secure the win.

India's No. 1 Raina, at 174 in the WTA rankings, started off a little nervously but soon got into her stride and battled hard from the back of the court, the favoured domain of the home player who is the 2017 French Open champion.

There were six breaks of serve in the first set, including both opening games, but the telling breaks came in the fourth and fifth games when Ostapenko broke and then held her serve to open up a clear lead.

Once she had overcome early nerves, Raina belted the ball hard, and although the second set was also noteworthy for its errors rather than its winners, Raina forged a 5-2 lead by breaking Ostapenko twice. Ostapenko came back to 5-5 but her concentration wavered once more and the Latvian gave away many points or was beaten for pace by the Indian's prodigious hitting.