New Delhi: Karman Kaur Thandi gave ample display of her talent but lacked consistency as she lost the opening singles of the Fed Cup tie against world number 55 Zarina Diyas, who handed Kazakhstan a 1-0 lead over India in the Asia/Oceania Group I competition, here today.
The 19-year-old played a lot better than yesterday but eventually lost 3-6 2-6 to Diyas, who had annexed her maiden WTA title as a qualifier five months back in Japan, in exactly one hour contest on the DLTA Centre court.
Again home fans will look towards yesterday’s super performer Ankita Raina to bring India back in the tie. She is up against Yulia Putintseva, once ranked as high as 27, but now placed at a humble 81.
It’s important for India to win today’s tie to remain in hunt for the World Group Play-offs.
Karman took some time to settle and started playing freely only after dropping serve in the second and saving a break point in the fourth.
In a nervous start, like yesterday, she was broken at love in the second game as she hit a forehand wide and long.
While Diyas cruised to a 4-1 lead, the Delhi girl finally found some rhythm and started to stroke fluently.
It meant there were no more easy points for the Kazakh girl.
Karman adopted an aggressive approach while returning as she sent deep balls on both flanks and was rewarded for the approach when she earned three breakpoints in the seventh game and converted second with an exquisite forehand winner on the left of the Kazakh.
However, the Indian girl, while trying too hard, dropped serve in the next game. Her decent returns though meant she was creating opportunities for herself.
Diays was serving for the set when she went down 30-40 but Karman hit a backhand long to let go the break chance.
That was enough for the experienced Kazakh to seal the set.
While Karman was fighting a lot better, she was not consistent enough. A flurry of forehand errors resulted in early break of serve in the second set.
The local girl now was serving a lot better and got the ball to bounce, using her height. She served the third game at love and was up 30-0 in the fifth but her rhythm was disturbed when she went for a replay following a debatable call.
Captain Ankita Bhambri had an argument with the chair umpire and all this affected Karman, who served two double faults to drop the serve.
Trailing 1-4, Karman got one break back with well- constructed points which she finished with a forehand winner.
It was important not to lose serve from there on but she lost it at love, allowing Diyas to serve out the match in the next.