Billie Jean King Cup: Rutuja Bhosale-Zeel Desai Win Doubles, India Pull Off Consolation Win against Latvia

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The pair of Rutuja Bhosale and Zeel Desai pulled one back as India won the double match against Latvia to end their Billie Jean King Cup World Group play-off campaign on a positive note after having lost all three singles matches.

Zeel and Rutuja defeated Daniela Vismane and Patricija Spaka in a tough three-setter 6-4, 5-7, 10-2 in the last match on Saturday.

After losing the rubber 1-3, India have slipped back to the Asia/Oceania zone.

India’s tennis ace and winner of six Grand Slam titles in doubles, Sania Mirza, was rested for the match and the team management decided to field Zeel and Rutuja.

Rutuja said during the post-match press conference that, “(Captain) Vishal (Uppal) said just go out there and have fun and see what happens. That’s what we did and the result went our way.”

India captain Uppal said that he was happy with the way the team played on both days, especially Ankita Raina, who gave it her best shot against former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko and Anastasija Sevastova in the two singles matches.

While Raina lost the opening match to world No. 52 Ostapenko 2-6, 7-5, 5-7, she was overpowered by Sevastova in the second singles 6-0, 7-6(4).

“On Day 1, if we could have pulled off that first match, it could have been a different story,” said Uppal of Raina’s match against Ostapenko.

“If she can become a little smarter tactically and also understand that you cannot let your level come down against the top players, Ankita will be a much-improved player. When you get those opportunities against big players, like 4-3 or 4-2, you’ve got to convert them,” opined Uppal.

“It’s just the quality of the Latvian players that they were able to raise the level at that point, which made the difference toward the business end of the matches. Ankita can learn that when you are playing better players like Ostapenko and leading, those points have to be converted. This was a big learning curve for Ankita and I’m sure she will be much wiser from this experience,” Uppal said.

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