SANIA AND ANKITA TO LEAD LINE FOR INDIA IN LATVIA
Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina have both been named in India’s squad for April’s Billie Jean King Cup by BNP Paribas Play-Off showdown with Latvia. Mirza, the former doubles world No. 1, and Raina, who became the second Indian player to win a WTA title in February, will be joined by Rutuja Bhosale, Karman Kaur Thandi, debutant Zeel Desai and reserve Riya Bhatia in captain Vishal Uppal’s team, according to the All India Tennis Association.
India will face Latvia at the National Tennis Centre Lielupe in Jurmala on April 16-17 with a place in the 2022 Qualifiers on the line, having sealed promotion alongside China at the Asia/Oceania Group I event in Dubai last year, Mirza and Raina securing the decisive doubles win over Indonesia to clinch the berth for India.
Mirza, set to play in her 30th tie for India next month, made her return to Billie Jean King Cup action in Dubai after a four-year absence, during which time she gave birth to her son. The 34-year-old said in late 2018 that she was targeting a place in India’s team for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics as she made her comeback to the tour.
Raina, India’s No. 1-ranked player in both singles and doubles, is also set to feature in her 30th tie. In February, the 28-year-old became only the fourth Indian woman – and first since Mirza – to contest a Grand Slam main draw at the 2021 Australian Open, where she played doubles alongside Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnescu.
Building on that breakthrough, the 28-year-old went on to win her first WTA doubles title at the Phillip Island Trophy event at Melbourne Park, partnering Kamilla Rakhimova of Russia.
India’s showdown with Latvia, the first meeting between the nations, is one of eight Billie Jean King Cup Play-Offs being contested in April. The winners will advance to the 2022 Qualifiers, while the losing side will contest their respective Group I event next year.
Further information about the Billie Jean King Cup Play-offs can be found here.