Ankita Raina tames Samantha Stosur in WTA tennis in China
Ankita Raina beat former World No.4 and US Open champion Samantha Stosur of Australia 7-5, 2-6, 7-5 in a nerve-wracking battle that nearly spanned three hours in the first round of the $125,000 WTA tennis tournament in China, on Wednesday.
Ankita did miss two break points at 4-4 in the decider, but broke Stosur in the 11th game, to serve for the match.
At 40-15, in what proved to be the last game of the match, the 26-year-old Ankita, ranked 178, missed both the match points as Stosur hit a good shot to save one and the other was lost with an unforced error by the India No.1.
‘’On the third match point that I won, I just told myself, Believe. It is now or never, and grab the opportunity’’, said Ankita, as she recaptured the emotions of the intense battle.
‘’This is a big confidence booster for my goal to achieve top 100’’, said Ankita.
‘’When I won the last point, I did not know how to react. After the hand shake, when I went back to my chair, I could not control myself. I started crying. I had the flash back of everything that I had gone through all these years’’, recalled Ankita.
Having played a good match against Stosur in Dubai last year, Ankita was confident of a good performance, as she had visualised a way forward.
‘’I knew what was coming, and was mentally prepared. Considering her strength, I had a plan. It worked today. I was anxious, it was an intense match with a lot of emotions and nerves’’, observed Ankita, who converted seven of 16 break points that she forced. She had dropped serve seven times as well.
Ankita won 120 points to 119 by Stosur, and it was the winning point that mattered. Stosur had seven aces and 18 double faults, while Ankita had three aces, six double faults and a 70% first serve success rate.
‘’I have been working hard. My team believed in me. Especially, my coach Hemant Bendrey had told me that I would definitely have a big performance in the WTA circuit and be in the top-100’’, said Ankita, quite thrilled with one of the biggest wins of her career, even though Stosur was only ranked 77.
Ankita, who had won the Asian Games bronze last year in Palembang, had beaten Yuliya Putintseva in FedCup among other leading players.
Even though the coach has not accompanied her, Ankita has trainer Gaurav Nijhon with her in China. That should ensure good recovery for her between matches, as she is competing in doubles as well.
(Courtesy: The Hindu)