In what was a crucial Fed Cup tie against Chinese Taipei, India emerged victorious after Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina battled for two hours and twenty-four minutes in the decider against a formidable doubles pairing of Latisha Chan and En Shuo Liang 6-4 4-6 6-4. Tie against Indonesia in the final day will be crucial in deciding India’s place in the World Group Playoffs.
Rutuja Bhosale had earlier clinched the opening rubber in yet another hard fought battle against a talented 15year-old Yang Ya Yi 6-3 3-6 7-6(8), saving 3 match points on the way. Ankita Raina lost a tough rubber against En Shou Liang.
Mr. Krishnakumar, an ITD volunteer and a senior financial leader based in Dubai caught up with Sania Mirza and the Indian Captain Vishaal Uppal after the tie against Chinese Taipei.
Q) So you are back in the Fed Cup after 4 years in your second home Dubai. How does it feel to be back in the blue jersey?
Sania Mirza: Really good. I’m obviously excited. These are the moments that we, as sportspersons, live for. To play for our country and to play matches like these, where you are literally fighting for every point. That’s what I was telling Ankita [Raina] as well at every point. Even at 4-all in the third set, I told her to just enjoy it, because these are the moments that we have been training all our life for.
Q) Crucial tie today. Your thoughts on that?
Sania Mirza: Yeah obviously. We have to win every tie to go through. Chinese Taipei, we know that their doubles is really strong. So it was a good one to come through.
Q) After the Dubai Championships, you had actually said that you didn’t have enough match practice. How are you feeling now?
Sania Mirza: It’s a lot better, with my calf being better, I have been able to practice over the last couple of weeks. It’s clearly showing when I play, because I feel the ball a lot better and I had come into it without too much practice. But that’s what matches do and it’s just a process, you just have to sort of go through it- win some, lose some, but you’ll have to go through that process. I’m glad that my game is coming together.
Q) We have just one Indonesian tie to go. What are your thoughts?
Sania Mirza: Right now, we both need to recover, because there is a good chance that it might go to a decider again tomorrow. Hopefully not, [laughs] but we have to be ready. So we just need to recover right now and focus on that. Hopefully, Rutuja [Bhosale] can give us a good start again.
Q) Thoughts on today’s crucial tie?
Vishaal Uppal: We had a really tough day today. I think we were destined to win. If you saw all the three matches, nothing went our way today, whether it is net chords, line calls. I think we must have lost at least 40 points today in line calls and net chords. It was bizarre – every net chord, so many of them went against us. I’m so proud of my team- they stuck it out, they braved it out. We deserved to win.
Q) Preparations for the 5th and final day tomorrow?
Vishaal Uppal: We are going to prepare tonight. We are going to really recover, rest, because we have worked too hard to get here. We have got one more day. We have got to beat Indonesia tomorrow and we are going to come out firing.