Astana has been home to a feast of tennis with the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas tie between Kazakhstan and Belgium taking place last week and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Asia/Oceania Zone Groups I and II taking place this week.
The Fed Cup event will take place at the National Tennis Centre which is located at the National Park of Astana. A beautiful building with a great infrastructure including eight hard and three clay courts, the indoor venue is open all year round.
The forecast didn’t promise warm weather in Astana with the average daytime temperature of -25 degrees Celsius but the atmosphere is getting quite hot at the tournament.
Twenty teams will take part in Asia/Oceania Zone Groups I and II, with the teams in Group II aiming to earn promotion to Zone Group I in 2015, while the teams in Group I are aiming to make the World Group II play-offs in April.
On 4 February, there were five ties in Pools A, B, C, and D in Asia/Oceania Zone Group II. In Pool A there was a tough battle between Malaysia and Vietnam.
In the first rubber Hao Thi Tam Tran from Vietnam was stronger than Aslina Chua An Ping from Malaysia. During two sets which took less than one hour and 45 minutes the tennis player from Vietnam with a beautiful one-handed backhand used a lot of slices, drop shots and trick shots to help her win 63 75.
Hao Thi Tam Tran's victory gave the team hope but the next two rubbers were less successful.
In the second match, Allysa Boey from Malaysia was more consistent during important points than Knanh Phi Huynh and won in two sets 63 62.
For the doubles there were no changes in both teams and Tran and Huynh from Vietnam were trying to get the second point back from Malaysian pair Chua An Ping and Boey.
The team from Malaysia was more confident on their own serve and made important breaks in each set with a 63 75 win.
The match in Pool B was quite simple for the Philippines team which challenged Signapore with great pressure. The first match was quick as Anna Clarice Patrimonio from Philippines defeated Geraldine Ang 63 60.
In the second rubber a young representative from Signapore Rheeya Doshi was trying to dominate in the first set against Marian Jade Capadocia from Philippines using aggressive flat shots from the baseline.
But the Philippines opponent was stronger and finished the first set 64. During the second set Doshi was trying to change the rhythm of the game and decided to make some quick attacks but it didn’t help to stop the hurricane that was Capadocia and she won the second set 61.
With a 2-0 lead the Philippines pair decided not to stop there and deprived their opponents a point, winning the doubles 61 61. This Philippines team hopes to do better than their best Fed Cup performance of reaching the last 16 in 1982.
In Pool C there was a tough battle between Turkmenistan and Iraq where the winner of the tie was determined after two singles matches.
The first match between Jahana Bayramova from Turkmenistan saw her defeat Halla Alajeely 60 76(1). The latter's sister had no better luck as she lost to Anastasiya Prenko 61 60.
In the last match the team from Iraq did score a point in their favour and the Alajeely sisters won the doubles match 62 62. Their next opponent is Kyrgyzstan and this match will be tomorrow.
In Pool D India was stronger than Iran with a 3-0 win and New Zealand defeated Pakistan by the same scoreline. Marina Erakovic from New Zealand and ranked No. 50 in singles and No. 32 in doubles was simply stronger than Sarah Mansoor 60 61.
Dianne Holland won the match against Ushna Suhail from Pakistan 61 60, and in the doubles match where Guthrie and Hayman gave only one game to Pakistan pair Dada and Khalid 60 61.
India and Iran played a very similar tie as New Zealand and Pakistan with full dominance of the favourites of the pool. The first match went the way of Rishika Sunkara 60 60 against Ghazaleg Torkaman.
Then Prathana Thombare upset Sarah Amini Hajibashi from Iran 76(3) 60. The doubles team from India didn’t leave any chances with very attacking game from Ankita Raina and Rishika Sunkara with a 60 61 win.