Billie Jean King Cup: India path Latvia 0-2 after Day 1 as Ankita Raina pushes Jelena Ostapenko
Latvia took a 2-0 lead over India within the Billie Jean King Cup playoff tie with wins for Jelena Ostapenko, Anastasija Sevastova over Ankita Raina and Karman Kaur Thandi respectively.
Jelena Ostapenko took a seat on her aspect of the courtroom after the customary bump of the racket on the web. She threw her bottle on the bottom in frustration. She was visibly upset because the Latvian staff’s non-playing captain – Adrians Zguns – spoke a number of phrases to her. She shrugged and obtained again to stuffing her bag with the rackets. If somebody had simply tuned in, they might have believed the 23-year-old had misplaced. As a substitute, she had triumphed in a humdinger within the Billie Jean King Cup.
Ostapenko most likely wasn’t anticipating to be on the courtroom for practically two and a half hours. However that’s precisely what Ankita Raina did within the first rubber of the playoff tie in Jurmala. The Indian got here inside a sport of inflicting an upset however as a substitute misplaced 2-6, 7-5, 6-7.
Karman Kaur Thandi stepped as much as the courtroom subsequent and matched Anastasija Sevastova stride for stride within the opening set. In the long run, although, she fizzled out to lose 4-6, 0-6 in an hour and 18 minutes. That made it 2-0 to Latvia after the primary day’s play and the singles matchups can be reversed tomorrow adopted by the doubles (if wanted).
India had been anticipated to have a tricky time towards Latvia of their maiden BJK Cup playoff. Not solely are Latvia ranked increased, however in addition they have a Grand Slam champion (Ostapenko) and semi-finalist (Sevastova) within the staff to play the vital singles rubbers. If that wasn’t uneven already, Latvia got here in because the hosts and had the posh of selecting the floor. And after the primary day’s play, the hole between the gamers confirmed when it mattered on the gradual indoor hardcourts.
With the match stage at one set all between Raina and Ostapenko, after a flurry of unbelievable and nicely contested factors within the third set, the Latvian introduced out the massive weapons at 5-5. She smacked a forehand cross courtroom to deliver up break level and transformed it with a down the road winner on the identical wing.
Serving for the match, Ostapenko rapidly introduced in regards to the match factors with a well-placed backhand deep on the baseline. Raina saved one match level however couldn’t repeat it as Ostapenko smacked a backhand down the road winner.
“I used to be utterly zoned in and was not occupied with something and specializing in level by level. Nonetheless, Jelena performs such matches on the highest stage and she or he performed some actually good photographs to get few essential factors,” stated Raina on the final three video games of the match.
“I simply knew that I’m the higher participant. My outcomes show it. I knew she will be able to’t play a excessive stage all through the match. I had this confidence that I’m higher than her and that confidence helped me to play nicely on the essential factors. So even after enjoying actually dangerous from my aspect, I managed to win it,” stated Ostapenko on the essential juncture of the match.
The second and third units had been in sharp distinction to the primary the place Raina struggled together with her serve. She did not win a single level on second serve by the 31 minute first set.
Raina grew to become extra aggressive and assured from the second set onwards whilst Ostapenko’s errors began to mount. “As the primary set went by, I found out what I wanted to alter and what she was doing. It could have most likely been a bit higher if I had performed these modifications earlier however regardless, there have been probabilities,” acknowledged Raina later.
Ostapenko struggled together with her second serve and was being pushed by Raina within the second set which resulted in a change of tactic. The Latvian resorted to moonballing to pressure Raina into arising with the massive photographs as a substitute of enjoying on the counter.
It helped as Ostapenko got here from 2-5 right down to make it 5-5 together with a maintain for the 2017 French Open champion whereas saving a set level.
If Ostapenko survived as soon as, she couldn’t repeat it one other time with Raina forcing flat groundstrokes on her. Ostapenko missed a forehand on set level and the competition moved into a 3rd set.
Within the decider, Ostapenko began with a break to go 2-0 up. With Ostapenko struggling together with her again and needing consideration, Raina made merry on a depressing service effort to revive the parity.
The eighth and ninth video games proved to be an actual slugfest. Ostapenko positioned two lovely backhands from the again of the courtroom to take the sport at 4-3. Within the subsequent, Raina picked up the ball centimetres from the bottom for a winner that stunned everybody, together with Ostapenko who didn’t run for it.
After two stiff serves, Ostapenko held comfortably to place strain on Raina who couldn’t elevate her sport when it was wanted.
The identical applies to Karman who began brightly and matched Sevastova’s groundstrokes from the again. Thandi was damaged within the very first sport however drew parity within the eighth sport. Sadly for the Indian, who’s coming back from damage, she was damaged within the very subsequent sport handy over the benefit.
World No 47 Sevastova transformed the primary set level and by no means seemed again. Thandi and Sevastova fought intently to open the second set with 20 factors throughout two video games. The distinction was Thandi was damaged on the fourth break level whereas Sevastova held her personal as three probabilities got here and went for Karman.
A weird name by the chair umpire led to a 3-0 scoreline quickly after from which Thandi might by no means get better. Sevastova closed out the match with eight consecutive video games and a mountain to climb for India from right here.
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