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Sania, Ankita to lead India's charge in Billie Jean King Cup World Group play-offs against Latvia
New Delhi, March 17, 2021
The country's number one in both WTA Singles and Doubles rankings Ankita Raina and six-time Grand Slam winner Sania Mirza will lead India's charge in the Billie Jean King Cup World Group play-off tie against Latvia in April.
With 29 ties each to their credit in their Billie Jean King Cup (formerly known as Fed Cup) playing history, Ankita Raina and Sania Mirza will play a crucial role in the first meeting between the two nations in the World Cup of Tennis.
The tie is slated to be played on April 16 and 17 at the National Tennis Centre Lielupe in Jurmala, Latvia.
Rutuja Bhosale, Zeel Desai, and Karman Kaur Thandi are the other three s players selected to represent India for the play-off tie. Riya Bhatia has been named a reserve player.
Vishal Uppal, who led the Indian side to its historic maiden promotion to World Group, will continue as the captain.
Team India was promoted to the World Group Play-offs of the Billie Jean King Cup last year after finishing second in the Asia/Oceania Group I event, beating Uzbekistan, Korea Republic, Chinese Taipei, and Indonesia.
China topped the regional group event and will be facing the Netherlands in an away tie.
The World Group Play-offs will feature 16 nations--- eight losing teams from the Qualifiers and eight promoted teams from regional Group I events -- four teams from Europe/Africa Group I, two teams from Americas Group I, two teams from Asia/Oceania Group I.
The winners of the play-offs will progress to the qualifiers and losers will compete in respective regional Group I event in 2022.
Earlier this month, Sania and her partner Andreja Klepac of Slovenia crashed out of the Qatar Total Open after facing a defeat in the semi-final.
Sania, who was competing in her first tournament in more than 12 months, marked her return to tennis with a credible semi-final finish in the showpiece event before making a winning return to the WTA circuit.
Selection Committee of the All India Tennis Association (AITA) comprising Nandan Bal (Chairman), Balram Singh, Mustafa Ghouse and Sai Jayalakshmi met here on Tuesday and picked up the squad.
The meeting was also attended by AITA Secretary General Anil Dhupar, AITA Vice-President (Sports) Hironmoy Chatterjee and Captain Vishal Uppal in his capacity of ex-officio member.