India suffers double blow at Fed Cup

Indian team has lost Asia/Oceania Zone Group 1 Federation Cup opener to lowly opponent Indonesia 1-2.

updated: February 01, 2008 13:27 IST
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Indian team suffered a double blow as they lost their the Asia/Oceania Zone Group 1 Federation Cup Group 1 opener to lowly opponent Indonesia 1-2 and star player Sania Mirza, yet to recover from her hamstring injury, rendered unfit for next pool tie.

Sania, who was rested for the first match, will also miss the second match against New Zealand tomorrow while the world number 29 has also been rendered doubtful for remaining ties.

The Indians badly missed Sania's firebrand tennis as other team members Shikha Uberoi and Sunitha Rao were found lacking at crucial junctures.

"Sania is not fit yet. She is going under through a rehabilitation programme here and her absence affects India's chances," non-playing captain Enrico Piperno said.

"Tomorrow we have a tough match and we have to play without Sania and it is a big setback," he said. Although Shikha gave a positive start and 1-0 lead to India by winning the first singles match by defeating Ayu Fani Damayanti 6-4 6-4, Sunitha could not keep the momentum going.

Sandy Gumulya, who is 44 rung below Sunitha in the WTA charts at 235, levelled the scores by beating the Indian 6-1 3-6 6-3 in the second singles.

The Indian duo lost the deciding doubles tie 6-7 (7) 6-1 6-3 to lost the rubber.

A disappointed Piperno said Shikha's bad health put paid to India's hopes of win today. "Of course, I am disappointed. Indonesia were the weakest team in the pool. Unfortunately, we have lost it and it makes our task harder," Piperno.

"I think we could have won the doubles after winning the first set, but Shikha was feeling uneasiness. She felt like dizzy and vomiting and that affected the match result."