Ankita Raina waltzes into Mumbai Open tennis quarter-finals
Ankita Raina has entered the women’s singles quarterfinals of the Mumbai Open tennis tournament.tennis Updated: Nov 23, 2017 23:12 IST
When Ankita Raina, the current India No 1 in women’s singles, took on Peangtarn Plipuech of Thailand in a tennis match in Hong Kong two years ago, she came off second best. Ankita had won the first set easily back then before losing steam in the next two to go down 6-1, 3-6, 1-6 against her Thai opponent in the semi-finals of the WTA event.
Cut to 2017 and Ankita had her revenge as she brushed aside Peangtarn 6-2, 6-2 in a lopsided encounter to storm into the quarter-finals of the L&T Mumbai Open WTA 125K Series event at the Cricket Club of India courts here on Thursday.
At the heart of Ankita’s redemption was the way she eschewed her natural aggression to play a game of patience to wear down her opponent. “I messed it up big time when I played Peangtarn the last time. She is the kind of player who gives nothing away. She hardly shows any emotion. So this time I decided to let go of my aggressive mindset, be patient and wait for her to commit mistakes. I used a lot of drop shots and angles today. Thankfully, my plan worked and I was able to beat the Thai girl in her own game,” Raina told reporters after the match.
This is the first time the Ahmedabad girl has made it to the last-eight of a big WTA 125K event, and yet she doesn’t want to celebrate much going into the next match against 265th ranked unseeded Amandine Hesse of France on Friday. Hesse defeated Israeli qualifiers Deniz Khazaiuk 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 in two hours 23 minutes.
“I don’t know what to feel this time. I was teary-eyed after the game. But I don’t want to celebrate too much as I am aware of the expectations people have of me,” said the emotional 24-year old, who trains at the Hemant Bendrey Academy in Pune.
Top seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus survived a two-hour 33 minute slugfest against Chinese Jia-jing Lu to book her place in the quarter-finals. Sabalenka fought back after losing the first set in a tiebreak to eventually win 6-7(5), 6-2, 7-4(4) against a fighting opponent.
Second round results:
5-Naomi Broady (GBR) bt Junri Namigata (JPN) 6-2, 6-2.
Amandine Hesse (FRA) bt Deniz Khazaniuk (ISR) 6-3, 4-6, 6-1.
Ankita Raina (IND) bt Peangtarn Plipuech (THA) 6-2, 6-2.
Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) bt Jia-jing Lu (CHN) 6-7(5), 6-2, 7-6(4).