For the second time in as many days, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) postponed its meeting with the All India Tennis Association (AITA). The world body had last week granted the Indian federation a meeting with its advisors to discuss the upcoming Davis Cup tie in Pakistan. Originally scheduled for Monday, the meeting rescheduled for Tuesday has now been postponed until further notice.
“The ITF has informed us that they have referred the matter to the Davis Cup committee,” AITA secretary general Hironmoy Chatterjee told The Indian Express. “The Davis Cup committee will discuss it tomorrow and will take a decision. AITA will not be a part of this discussion. Hopefully, they will be considerate. Our plea has merit, else it wouldn’t have gone to the Davis Cup committee.”
After an exchange of letters last week, AITA had asked for the Asia/Oceania Group 1 tie, scheduled to be played in Islamabad on September 14-15, to either be shifted to a neutral venue or postponed by two months due to the rising tension between the two countries over the Jammu and Kashmir issue. The ITF subsequently rejected both suggestions by AITA but did grant a telephonic meeting with its security advisors. That meeting has now been cancelled for the second time. “We should hear from them by the end of the week,” India’s Davis Cup captain Mahesh Bhupathi said when asked when the meeting will eventually take place.
Ever since the ITF cleared the security arrangements for the tie, the ITF had expressed satisfaction with the measures put in place despite relations between the two countries growing sour. Nonetheless, the ITF has asserted that it is keeping a tab over developments between the two countries.
“The ITF continues to monitor the situation on a daily basis with an in-depth review by independent security advisors,” the ITF Communications team said to this newspaper.
The Indian players, however, have expressed fears over travelling to Pakistan through a letter Bhupathi sent to AITA. Bhupathi is also expected to attend the meeting with the ITF, whenever it does take place.
Ankita Raina in Round 2
New York: India’s Ankita Raina knocked out ninth seed Belgian Ysaline Bonaventure to progress to the second round of the US Open Qualifiers but Ramkumar Ramanathan bit the dust in the men’s singles here. The 194th ranked Ankita was up against a higher-ranked player but prevailed 6-1, 1-6, 6-2 for her second win against the Belgian on the Pro Tour. She had beaten the 111th ranked Bonaventure in her own country in 2014 on clay. Ankita converted five of the six breakpoints and saved five of the eight chances on her own her serve. “I started solid. There were a very few unforced errors in the first set. I stayed longer in the points and kept her moving. She had aggressive forehand and when she was in position she would absolutely kill so I had to make sure to keep her on the run,” Ankita said, explaining how she brought about the fall of the Belgian. “I changed my racquet thinking new balls and it didn’t work in my favour actually so I switched back to the previous one but she got her rhythm,” she added.
Ankita said she was aware of the strength of her rival but was prepared for a battle.
“I knew she can play incredible tennis but was ready for it and was confident through out even after losing the second set. I felt she was also getting affected by the heat so in the third set I made sure to keep her longer in the points.” —PTI