Billie Jean King Cup tennis: India finish third in Group I with win over South Korea

Indian singles players Ankita Raina and Riya Bhatia won their respective matches as India defeated South Korea 2-1 in their final Group I match.

By Ali Asgar Nalwala
Picture by Getty Images

The Indian women’s tennis team concluded its campaign at the Billie Jean King Cup 2022 Asia/Oceania Group I with a 2-1 win over South Korea in Antalya, Turkey on Saturday.

Playing on the clay courts of the MTA Tennis Academy, India registered their third straight win to finish third in Group I. After losing to Japan and China in its opening two fixtures, the Indian team, led by Ankita Raina, had won back-to-back ties against Indonesia and New Zealand earlier to bounce back.

China along with an unbeaten Japanese team progressed to the play-offs while Indonesia and New Zealand were relegated to Group II. India and South Korea finished third and fourth, respectively, to keep their places in next season’s Group I.

For the tie against South Korea, Riya Bhatia, who replaced Rutuja Bhosale for the singles opener, defeated 1535-ranked Kim Na Ri 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 in one hour and 55 minutes. The Indian tennis player, 463rd in world tennis rankings, was broken early in the first set but found her groove as the match progressed.

India’s highest-ranked women’s singles player Ankita Raina was in action next against world No. 583 Kim Da Bin. Ankita Raina, ranked 319, dominated her South Korean opponent from the start to win the match 6-2, 6-3 in one hour and 29 minutes.

The Indian women’s doubles team, however, remained winless in the competition across five ties. Sowjanya Bavisetti and Riya Bhatia lost the dead rubber to Han Na Lae and Kim Na Ri 6-1, 6-3 in one hour and two minutes as India won the tie against South Korea 2-1.

India’s best finish at Billie Jean King Cup, formerly known as the Fed Cup, came in 2020 with India finishing second in Group I to qualify for its maiden World Group play-offs. India, however, lost to Latvia 3-1 in the 2021 play-offs to drop back to this year’s Group I stage.

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