India ended up fourth in the Fed Cup zonal qualification women's team tennis tournament after going down to Uzbekistan 3-0 in the play-offs in Christchurch on Saturday.
With seniors Shikha Uberoi and Sunitha Rao resting due to injuries, the inexperienced Tara Iyer and Ankita Bhambri proved to be a mince-meat against the seasoned Uzbeks.
Tara went down 4-6, 6-7 (3) to Albina Khabibulina before Ankita lost to Dilyara Saidkhodjaeva 4-6, 4-6 in the singles.
In the doubles rubber, the Indians fought back brilliantly only to lose a nail-biting tiebreaker in the deciding set 6-3, 5-7, 6-7 (11).
Captain Enrico Piperno had mixed emotions about the team's performance in the tournament.
"I said before the start that our priority was to stay in the group and I am happy we achieved that," he said.
"I would say we played to our potential. It was unfortunate that we had some injury problems.
"We lost to the best team (Chinese Taipei in the league stage) in the tournament. They went on to beat Thailand in the final."