New  Delhi, April 14 : India's bid for a place in the  play- offs failed as it lost 1-2 to New Zealand  the last tie of  the Billie Jean King Cup  Asia/Oceania Group I women tennis at the Moon Island Clay Park in Changsha,  China on Saturday.

With the loss, India finished third in Asia/Oceania Group I with three wins and two defeats.

The top two teams in the group - China and Korea - earned promotion to the 2024 Billie Jean King Cup Play-offs while India remained in Group I along with New Zealand, who finished fourth.

The bottom two teams in Group I - Chinese Taipei and Pacific Oceania - have been relegated to Asia/Oceania Group II.

Once again  Rutuja Bhosale gave India the early lead  winning her singles match but Ankita Raina suffered a straight-set defeat in her  contest.
 Raina and Prarthana Thombare also lost their tie-deciding doubles rubber.

Bhosale, 379th in the world rankings, registered a 6-2, 7-6 win over world No. 632 Monique Barry in one hour and 41 minutes. 

She  kept her composure towards the closing stages of the second set to avoid Barry from forcing a decider.

However, world No. 255 Ankita Raina failed to get the better of her higher-ranked opponent, world No. 169 Lulu Sun, in the second singles match. 

A 2- 6, 0 - 6 loss for the Indian in 62 minutes helped New Zealand restore parity at 1-1.

In the doubles, Raina and Prarthana Thombare took on Erin Routliffe and Paige Hourigan .

 The Indians  struggled to keep up with their opponents in the first set and despite a strong fight in the second set, suffered a 1-6,  5-7 loss in one hour and 27 minutes.

This was India’s second loss in Group I after a 0-3 defeat to China earlier. India had beaten Pacific Oceania 3-0 in their opener, defeated Chinese Taipei 2-1 and got the better of South Korea with a 2-1 margin.


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