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Sania Mirza to spearhead Indian campaign in Fed Cup

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Hyderabad, April 13: Sania Mirza, the newly-crowned world number one in doubles, will lead India in Fed Cup tennis, Asia/Oceania, Group II, beginning here on Tuesday.

The Hyderabadi, who became the first Indian woman to reach the top, will be playing captain of the India team in the tournament, which will see participation by 12 countries.

Sania leapfrogged to the top spot on Sunday after winning her third consecutive WTA title – Family Circle Cup – with new partner Martina Hingis at Charleston, US, on Sunday.

The tennis star, who is flying to Hyderabad, will be seen in action before the home crowd after nine years.

It was not clear if Sania will also play singles. The Indian team includes singles player Ankita Raina, Natasha Palha, and Prarthana G. Thombare.

India, Indonesia, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Oman, Pacific Oceania, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Turkmenistan are participating in the tournament.

The tournament, which will continue till April 18, will be played on round-robin basis. There will be four pools of three teams each, it was announced on Monday.

Philippines and Singapore are in Pool A, Turkmenistan, Iran and Kyrgyzstan are in Pool B, while India, Malaysia and Pakistan are in Pool C and Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Pacific Oceania are in Pool D.

The winner of Pool A will play the winner of Pool C and the winner of Pool B will play the winner of Pool D in the first round of play-offs. The winners of those matches will play-off to determine which nation will be promoted to Asia/Oceania Zone Group I in 2016.

Fed Cup was launched in 1963 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the International Tennis Federation. It is now the world's largest annual international team competition in women's sport, with 99 nations taking part in 2015.

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