Pune Open ITF: Raina-Thandi acing it on same side of court

Pune’s Ankita Raina and Delhi’s Karman Kaur Thandi play to each other’s strengths... on their way to being India’s next tennis powerhouse

pune Updated: Nov 27, 2018 16:31 IST
Jigar Hindocha
Jigar Hindocha
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune Open ITF,Raina-Thandi,acing it
Ankita Raina (blue cap) and Karman Kaur Thandi in action during the Pune Open women’s championship at the Shiv Chhatrapati sports complex in Balewadi on Monday. Raina-Thandi defeated Kaylah Mcphee of Australia and Pei-Chi Lee of Taipei 6 -2, 6-4, in the doubles round one match.(Milind Saurkar/HT Photo)

Pune Ankita Raina and Karman Kaur Thandi are in the tennis spotlight in, and for, India. Not least because they are now the defending champions of the WTA Taipei Open doubles title, which concluded recently.

On Monday, the Indian pair was in action at the Shiv Chhatrapati sports complex in Balewadi, where they defeated Kaylah Mcphee of Australia and Pei-Chi Lee of Taipei 6 -2, 6-4, in the doubles round one of the Pune Open ITF women’s championship.

“Taipei was a good tournament for us we played well. So we decided to play in India together for couple of tournaments as off now. In the future we will see which tournaments we both are playing and accordingly we will plan. We need to check cut-offs for the tournament as well,” Raina, a Pune resident, told Hindustan Times after the match.

The duo looked completely in control right from the start and wrapped up the match in one hour and two minutes.

“We had nothing decided during the WTA about paring together and we also had not had a thought of going so far,” says Thandi about their pairing in Taipei event.

On Monday, the Indian girls started with a bang and wrapped up the first set in 25 minutes. The Australian-Taipei duo were broken in the fourth and eight games, which was enough for the Indian pair to move ahead with a 6-2 score line.

“It is good to play with her (Raina). Hitting volleys becomes easy when you have good baseliner,” says Thandi, who came into match after playing a three-hour long singles match in the morning session.

“Generally we train together, but she had an early match today, so there was no need of practice and we are training together for the last one week,” says Raina.

The second set for Indian pair started on a tricky note as they were 0-2 down after the first two games.

In third game Thandi held her serve at 40-love and then broke the opponents’ serve at 40-15 in the fourth game to make it two-all.

“We have our sets of opinion while playing and yes if I know the opponent then I share about what type of drills are to be done during the match,” explains Thandi about the strategy during the match.

Leaving few unforced errors, the Indians looked flawless throughout the match and wrapped up the second set 6-4 in 37 minutes.

“What I like about Karman is the way she closes games, like today’s match,” Raina adds.

In the other doubles matches Russian Amina Anshba and Poland’s Paula Kania thrashed Indian wildcard pair Natasha Palhaa and Rishika Sunkara 6-0, 6-2 while the pair of Chieh-Yu Hsu and Jia-Jing Lu scored an easy 6-2, 6-4 win over wild card Snehal Mane and Hong Kong’s Ching Ho Wu.

Turning point

In red-hot form, Indian pair Ankita Raina and Karma Thandi started the match on a strong note with their error free approach and did not allow the opponents to attack. It helped them to set up a victory in 62 minutes.

Thandi wins singles match... just

Fourth seeded Karman Kaur Thandi had to dig hard to win her singles round one match. The Delhi girl rallied from one set down to clinch the contest 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 against qualifier Aleksandrina Naydenova of Bulgaria in a battle that lasted three hours and tjhree minutes.

“First round matches are tricky sometimes. I have played lot of tennis on these courts, but still I took time to settle down. I was just hitting everything,” says Thandi.

Then, German qualifier Katharina Gerlach outplayed wild card and former Indian national champion Riya Bhatia, 6-0, 6-3.

In the another close encounter which lasted three hours, Spanish player E Guerrero Alvarez edged out Japan’s Junri Namigata 7-6 (7-2), 6-7 (6-8), 6-4.

Results: (First round)

Singles: Mariam Bolkvadze (Geo) bt Maria Marfutina (Rus) 6-2, 6-2; Guerrero Alvarez (Esp) bt Junri Namigata (Jpn) 7-6 (7-2), 6-7 (6-8), 6-4; Katharina Gerlach (Ger) bt Riya Bhatia (Ind) 6-0, 6-3; 4-Karman Kaur Thandi bt Q. Aleksandrina Nadenova (Bul) 4-6, 7-5, 7-5; q-Ekaterina Yashina (Rus) bt Risa Ozaki (Jpn) 6-4, 6-2.

Doubles: Ankita Raina and Karman Kaur Thandi bt Kaylah Mcphee (Aus) and Pei-Chi Lee (Tpe) 6 -2, 6-4; Chieh-Yu Hsu (Tpe) and Jia-Jing Lu (Chn) bt wc-Snehal Mane (Ind) and Ching Ho Wu (Hkg) 6-2, 6-4; Jaqueline Adina Rou Cristian (Rou) and Quirine Lemoine (Ned) bt 4-Reka-Luca Jani ( Hun) and Valeriya Strakhova (Ukr) 6-4, 3-6 (10-3); Amina Anshba (Rus) and Paula Kania (Pol) bt wc-Natasha Palha and Rishika Sunkara (Ind) 6-0, 6-2; Sharon Fichman (Can) and Katarzyna (Pol) bt Diana Marcinkevica (Lat) and Eden Silva(Gbr) 6-3, 6-1; 2- Katy Dunne and Sarah Beth Grey (Gbr) bt Katharina Gerlach (Ger) and Erika Vogelsang (Ned) 6-4, 5-7, 10-3.

First Published: Nov 27, 2018 16:30 IST