China have booked their berth in the World Group play-off with a clinical victory over Australia to win the Fed Cup Asia-Oceania zone Group 1 women's team tennis event. The Chinese were without their number one player, world number 42 Na Li, but that made little difference to the outcome. On Saturday, Tian Tian Sun and Jie Zheng registered an efficient if not entirely smooth victories over Evie Dominikovic and Samantha Stosur respectively to take a 2-0 lead. Sun, the Athens Olympics women's doubles gold medalist, resisted a late challenge by Dominikovic to emerge 6-3 7-5 winner and put her team in the lead. Zheng, who had reached the Australian Open fourth round last year, then overcame a few stuttering moments in the second set before prevailing 6-3 6-4 over Stosur. The inconsequential doubles tie was cancelled. Australia, the seven-time champions and out of the World Group for the first time in the tournament's 42-year history, remain in Group 1. India finish third
India registered a face-saving 2-1 victory over Korea in a match to decide the 3-4th placing. India, out of the reckoning after finishing second in pool A, were off to a bad start with Ankita Bhambri going down 6-1 6-3 to Ye-Ra Lee in an hour and six minutes. But Shikha Uberoi levelled the scores with a 6-3 6-1 win over Jin-Hee Kim before partnering with Rushmi Chakravarthi to win the decisive doubles match 6-3 6-3 against Kyung-Mi Chang and Jin-A Lee. Ankita dropped her first two service games as Ye-Ra Lee went up 5-0 in the first set. The right-handed Korean let the match drift before pulling up her socks in time to seal the issue. The 22-year old Shikha, playing her first Fed Cup, then put up a creditable performance that went some distance in assuaging her tame loss to China's Na Li in the pool engagement yesterday. In fact, Kim held her serve only thrice and was broken three times in the second set as the US-based Indian drilled forehand winner after winner. Shikha had her uncertain moments as when she made two double faults and was broken in the third game of the first set, but that was about the only blemish in her game yesterday.
(With PTI inputs)