Ankita bows out as Indian challenge ends in singles
Mumbai: Ankita Raina ended her opening WTA Mumbai Open match — a three-set seesaw battle with Rutuja Bhosale — at almost midnight on Wednesday.
On Thursday, she was back on court at 5.30pm to face Danka Kovinic in the pre-quarterfinals.. Overcoming dengue since her bronze winning effort at the Jakarta Asian Games, India’s top-ranked women’s singles player at 197 knew she had to be in her best physical shape to get past the 194th-ranked from Montenegro.
Instead, Raina was far from it, going down to Kovinic 2-6 5-7 at the CCI courts here on Thursday as the Indian challenge in singles ended at the Mumbai Open.
“The less recovery time affected me today,” Raina said after the defeat. “It was tough, especially since I was down with dengue in September, and this has just been my third tournament since.
“I can usually go three setters till the quarterfinals, but this time I couldn’t. But I’ll have to work on my fitness, I can’t use that (as an excuse) every time,” she added.
Raina started off slowly against Kovinic, getting broken in her opening service game. But she responded immediately, converting her sixth break point chance to get even and signal that she was in for a fight.
The Indian, though, couldn’t ride the momentum, Kovinic striking right back to reclaim her one-break advantage. Raina sought her coach Hemant Bendre’s advice soon after but it did little to turn things around.
She dished out a couple of double faults to surrender her next service game as well as Kovinic sealed the first set 6-2.
In the second set, while the Indian sprang back to life, the Montenegrin dug herself into a hole of poor first serves and a slew of unforced errors as Raina backed up her hold with a break. Again Raina’s serve let her down, failing to serve for the set as well as stay in the match to squander the opening.
Raina, a quarterfinalist at Mumbai Open last year, said she will now move on to play two more tournaments — in China and Taiwan — as she looks to make the cut for the Australian Open qualifiers next year.
India’s Ankita Raina in action during her loss to Kovinic at the Mumbai Open on Thursday Montenegro’s Danka