The Indian team suffered a double blow as they lost their the Asia/Oceania Zone Group 1 Federation Cup Group 1 opener to lowly opponents Indonesia 1-2, and star player Sania Mirza, yet to recover from her hamstring injury, was rendered unfit for the next pool tie.
Sania will miss the second match against New Zealand tomorrow while the world No. 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. 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. 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 rungs 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 (7-9) 6-1, 6-3 to lose the rubber. A disappointed Piperno said Shikha’s bad health put paid to India’s hopes of a victory today.
“Of course I’m disappointed. Indonesia were the weakest team in the pool. 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 was dizzy and felt like vomiting and that affected the match result.”