Dubai: Rutuja Bhosale edged out higher-ranked Su Jeong Jang 7-5, 6-4 in the opening singles to give India a fantastic start in their 2-1 victory over Korea here on Thursday which helped them to stay alive in the race for the Play-offs in the Fed Cup.
After Rutuja put India 1-0 ahead, in-form Ankita Raina was expected to seal the match but the gritty Indian lost the second singles rather tamely 4-6, 0-6 to Na-Lae Han.
With the tie locked 1-1, India's most successful woman player Sania Mirza got to play her first match of the competition after four years. Sania and Ankita joined forces to prevail over Na-Ri Kim and Han 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 39 minutes to clinch the tie for India.
The victory means that India have now moved to second place in the six-team Asia/Oceania Group I behind China, who are unbeaten in the tournament.
Top two teams will qualify for the Play-offs. A big test awaits India on Friday when they clash with Chinese Taipei. A victory against them will more or less ensure India's passage into the Play-offs, to be held next month.