India out of reckoning after 1-2 defeat against Uzbekistan

Nonthaburi: Commonwealth Games
bronze medallist pair of Sania Mirza and Rushmi Chakravarthi
lost the decisive doubles rubber as India suffered a 1-2
defeat against Uzbekistan and faced relegation to the Asia
Oceania Group II in the Fed Cup here on Thursday.

It was India`s second consecutive defeat in Pool A of
Asia Oceania Group I in as many days and to stay in the Group,
the team will have to win the play-off tie after the group

India needed to win the tie to stay in hunt for promotion
to World Group II but the experienced pair of Sania and Rushmi
suffered an unexpected 6-2, 3-6, 3-6 defeat against Nigina
Abduraimova and Albina Khabibulina.

After losing to China yesterday, India needed a good
start in today`s tie but Poojashree Venkatesha failed to do
that, surrendering 1-6, 2-6 to Sabina Sharipova, who is 65
places above the Indian at number 469.

However, 135th-ranked Sania brought India back with a 6-4,
6-1 win over 555th-ranked Abduraimova in the second singles
at the National Tennis Centre.

But, in the decisive doubles rubber, the pair of Sania
and Rushmi lost, denting India`s chances of progress.

The winners of both the pools (A and B) will compete in
play-offs to decide which nation progresses to World Group II
play-offs, to be held on April 16-17.

The team finishing third and fourth in each group will
compete in a play-off to stay in Group I as the loser will be
relegated to Group II.

India were promoted to Group I last year when they won
all the three ties, beating Singapore, Malaysia and Kyrgyzstan
without losing a rubber.

India`s best Fed Cup performance came in 2006, when it
ended as the runner-up in Asia/Oceania Zone Group I.