Nonthaburi, Feb 3: India failed to take advantage of the absence of Li Na in the Chinese line-up as they began their Asia/Oceania Group I campaign in the Fed Cup with a 1-2 defeat against China in Pool A.
Sania Mirza's loss to lower-ranked Jing-Jing Lu proved to be costly as the onus was on her to bring India back in the Feb 2 tie, as the young and inexperienced Poojashree Venkatesha had lost the first singles match 3-6 2-6 to Hao Chen Tang.
But Sania lost 1-6, 6-0, 4-6, to World No.191 Jing-Jing Lu in the second singles, and thus ended India's hopes.
But the pair of Rushmi Chakravarthi and Venkatesha defeated Lu and Ran Tian 6-3 6-2 to restore some pride and end the Asia/Oceania Group I campaign in the Fed Cup with a 1-2 defeat.
India now face a daunting task of beating Thailand and Uzbekistan in the next Pool A ties to entertain any hopes of moving in to World Group II play-offs. The winners of both pool A and pool B will compete in play-offs to decide which nation progresses to World Group II play-offs.
The World Group II play-offs are scheduled to be held on April 16-17.