India lose 1-2 to China in Fed Cup

Nonthaburi (Thailand), Feb 2 (PTI) Sania Mirza''s defeatagainst lower-ranked Jing-Jing Lu cost India dear as theybegan their Asia/Oceania Group I campaign in the Fed Cup witha 1-2 defeat against China in Pool A.

China were without Australian Open runner-up Li Na butIndia could not take advantage of her absence from the Chineseline up to make a good start in this year''s competition afterbeing promoted to Group I.

All the responsibility to bring India back in today''s tiewas on Sania as young Poojashree Venkatesha lost the firstsingles match 3-6 2-6 to Hao Chen Tang.

However, 135-ranked Sania lost 1-6 6-0 4-6 to 191-rankedJing-Jing Lu in the second singles, ending Indian hopes, atthe National Tennis Centre here.

Later, in the inconsequential doubles rubber, the pair ofRushmi Chakravarthi and Venkatesha defeated Lu and Ran Tian6-3 6-2 to end the day on winning note.

India now must beat Thailand (Thursday) and Uzbekistan(Friday) in the next Pool A ties to stand a chance to progressto World Group II play-offs.

The winners of both the pools (A and B) will compete inplay-offs to decide which nation progresses to World Group IIplay-offs, to be held on April 16-17.

India were promoted to Group I last year when they wonall three ties, beating Singapore, Malaysia and Kyrgyzstan.

China were relegated to Group I after losing 2-3 toto Sweden in the World Group II play-offs in Helsingborg.

India''s best Fed Cup performance came in 2006, when itended as the runner-up in Asia/Oceania Zone Group I.

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