Come Friday, the Indian women’s tennis team will gear up for a historic first appearance in the World Group playoffs stage of the Billie Jean King Cup against Latvia at the National Tennis Centre Lielupe in Jurmala, Latvia.
The team, which has the veteran Sania Mirza and India No. 1 Ankita Raina, reached the playoffs of the erstwhile Fed Cup after finishing second behind China in the Asia/Oceania Group I last year.
Joining Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina will be youngsters Rutuja Bhosale, Zeel Desai and Karman Kaur Thandi. Former tennis player Vishal Uppal is the non-playing captain of the team.
The main challengers in the Latvian team will be Anastasija Sevastova (rank 47) and the 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko (rank 53). Diana Marcinkevica, Daniela Vismane and Patricija Spaka make up the rest of the team.
The two countries will be facing each other for the first time in the competition.
The World Group playoffs were originally scheduled for April last year but were postponed to February 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic before eventually being slotted for April 16-17, 2021.
The Latvia vs India tie will be played over five matches on hard courts. The team that wins more matches will progress to the World Group qualifiers for the 2022 season. From there, the teams move on to the Billie Jean King Cup Finals for the title round.
However, a loss against Latvia will relegate India to the regional (Asia/Oceania) group for 2022, from which they will have to work their way up to the World Group playoffs next season again.
Latvia vs India in Billie Jean King Cup playoffs schedule, draw and live India start times
All times are in Indian Standard Time (IST)
Friday, April 16 – 8:30 PM IST
Jelena Ostapenko vs Ankita Raina
Anastasija Sevastova vs Karman Kaur Thandi
Saturday, April 17 – 4:30 PM IST
Anastasija Sevastova vs Ankita Raina
Jelena Ostapenko vs Karman Kaur Thandi
Diana Marcinkevica/Daniela Vismane vs Sania Mirza/Ankita Raina
Where to watch Latvia vs India Billie Jean King Cup playoffs live in India?
The Latvia vs India tie in the Billie Jean King Cup playoffs will be telecast live on the Eurosport and Eurosport HD TV channels in India.