Pune Open ITF: After singles victory, Indian women’s pair to clinch doubles
Raina and Thandi entre next round after winning matches in singles and doubles categoriesUpdated: Nov 29, 2018 16:00 IST
Hindustan Times, Pune
On a day where a number of the seeded players bowed out, the Indian duo Ankita Raina and Karman Kaur Thandi won their respective singles matches before teaming up to topple the Taipei and Chinese pair Chieh-Yu Hsu and Jia-Jing LU to proceed to the semi-finals of the doubles event at the $25000 BVG Pune Open ITF women’s championships played at the Shiv Chhatrapati sports complex in Balewadi on Wednesday.
Before winning her doubles matchup, the fourth-seeded Thandi was up against veteran Reka Luca Jani. The 27-year-old Hungarian has several years of experience under her belt and despite winning 19 singles and 22 doubles titles on the ITF tour, found herself unseeded going into the BVG Pune Open. Thus, Thandi knew that she could take nothing for granted even though she was the higher ranked player among the two.
It was far from the perfect start for the 20-year-old as in the very first game of the tournament, Jani broke her serve to love to race into a 1-0 lead. However, she failed to hold her serve in the following game, giving the Indian a chance to restore parity. The fans in attendance at the Balewadi Stadium expected Thandi to seize the initiative on her next service game, but something appeared to be bothering her as she landed very few first serves and failed to hold her serve for two consecutive games.
Rather than capitalising on their serves, both players appeared more comfortable receiving and playing defensive tennis – thus managing to draw their opponent into making unforced errors. In the fourth game, Jani managed to win the first service game of the match to make it 3-1 but it was all downhill for the Hungarian from thereon in.
After being broken twice, Thandi appeared to get her act together and managed to play a more expressive game which immediately saw her Hungarian counterpart alter her style to deal with the pressure. The fourth seed won a number of points at the net as well. Jani failed to win a single game after going 3-1 up as Thandi won five games on the spin to seal the first set 6-3.
In the second set, it was one-way traffic as the Delhi girl upped the ante and Jani failed to match up to her fitness levels. Looking slightly nerved in the initial stages of the game, Thandi seemed like a completely different beast in the match’s final set.
The 20-year-old won every game on her serve and also managed to break her opponent in the third and seventh game of the second set to win it by a landslide 6-2 scoreline. She will now face Kai-Lin Zhang in the quarterfinals after the Chinese upset the 8th seed Quirine Lemoine 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.
Local girl and tournament second seed Ankita Raina continued her impressive journey with a roller-coaster victory R against Russian Ekaterina Yashina. After winning the first set 6-1, Raina saw her service broken in the 12th game of the second, which saw Yashina claw her way back into the contest and send it into a deciding set. However, Raina remained resolute and capitalised on her opponent’s mistakes to win it 6-1 and secure a berth in the final eight of the competition.
In the other matches on Wednesday, Jaqueline Adina Cristian of Romania upset third-seeded Jia-Jing of China LU 7-6(5), 6-4, while Spanish youngster Eva Guerrero Alvarez recorded a massive win over second seed Deniz Khazaniuk of Israel by a 6-3, 6-4 scoreline. The top-seeded Tamara Zidansek, managed to avoid the voodoo, as she dropped a set en route to beating Marian Bolkvadze 7-5, 4-6, 6-4.
After starting the game in a dismal manner, Thandi quickly regained her focus and started playing her best tennis. She realised that her opponent was leaving the entire court open to play forehand and backhand winners, and more often than not, Karman Kaur Thandi managed to find the corners to play some elegant shots en route to winning the round of 16 matches in straight sets.
Following are the results: Main Draw (Second Round)
Ankita Raina (IND)  bt Ekaterina Yashina (RUS) 6-1, 5-7, 6-1
Tamara Zidansek (SLO)  bt Mariam Bolkvadze (GEO) 7-5, 4-6, 6-4
Jaqueline Adina Cristian (ROU) bt Jia-Jing LU (CHN)  7-6(5), 6-4
Kai-Lin Zhang (CHN) bt Quirine Lemoine (NED)  4-6, 7-5, 6-2
Karman Kaur Thandi (IND)  bt Reka-Luca Jani (HUN) 6-3, 6-2
Valeriya Strakhova (UKR) bt Katharina Gerlach (GER) 7-6(0), 7-5
Marina Melnikova (RUS) bt Olga Doroshina (RUS)  5-7, 6-4, 6-1
Eva Guerrero Alvarez (ESP) bt Deniz Khazaniuk (ISR)  6-3, 6-4
Doubles: Quarterfinal Round
Amina Anshba (RUS) / Paula Kania (POL) bt Jaqueline Adina Cristian (ROU) / Quirine Lemoine (NED) 6-3, 3-6, 10-8;
Aleksandrina Naydenova (BUL) / Tamara Zidansek (SLO) bt Ana Veselinovic (MNE)  / Ekaterina Yashina (RUS) 6-4, 6-1;
Sharon Fichman (CAN) / Katarzyna Piter (POL) bt Katy Dunne (GBR)  / Sarah Beth Grey (GBR) 6-3, 6-0;
Ankita Raina (IND) / Karman Kaur Thandi (IND)  bt Chieh-Yu Hsu (TPE) / Jia-Jing LU (CHN) 7-5,6-2
First Published: Nov 29, 2018 15:06 IST