ITF Women’s Open: Ankita Raina, Zeel Desai make winning start in Gurugram

Gurugram, Feb 27 (IANS): Top Indian women's singles players Ankita Raina and Zeel Desai made a winning start in the main draw of the ITF Women’s Open Gurugram 35 and advanced into the pre-quarterfinals of the event being played at The Tennis Project here.

India’s best bet in the event, Ankita Raina on Tuesday took her first step to end her four-year title drought with a clinical 6-2, 6-1 win over compatriot Akanksha Nitture. Joining her in the last 16 was countrymate Zeel Desai, who recovered from an initial hiccup to register a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Vaidhei Chaudhari.

In the other two first-round singles matches of the day, seventh-seed Jacqueline Cabaj Awad of Sweden brushed aside the challenge of wildcard entrant Kashish Bhatia 6-1, 6-0 while third-seeded Justina Mikulskyte of Lithuania overcame a set deficit to overpower Daria Kudashova, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Meanwhile, three other Indians - Anjali Rathi, Vaishnavi Adkar and Madhurima Sawant -- entered the main draw after winning their respective final-round qualifying matches. India’s strength thus swelled to 12 in the main draw.

Ankita who last won a title in 2020 at the Jodhpur W25 was in fine form from the word go with a good mix of serve and a strong forehand, reached to a 3-0 lead with a break in the second game. Another break in the eighth game handed her the first set.

The second set too followed a similar trail with Ankita adopting an even more aggressive approach. With two breaks in the 2nd and 4th game, Ankita galloped to a 4-0 lead before clinching the set and the match 6-1.

Meanwhile, Zeel, who began by breaking her opponent’s serve in the very first game, held her serve to go 2-0 up. However, India No.2 Vaidehi not only levelled but went ahead 3-2 with a break in the fourth game.

However, Zeel clinched the first set 6-3, winning four games in a row. Zeel although lost her serve in the first game of the second set, she didn’t give a semblance of a chance to her opponent as she won six games on a trot to secure a place in the last 16.


Singles (Round of 32) (Indians unless stated): Zeel Desai bt Vaidehi Chaudhari 6-3, 6-1; 2-Ankita Raina bt Akanksha Dileep Nitture 6-2, 6-1; 7-Jacqueline Cabaj Awad (SWE) bt WC-Kashish Bhatia 6-1, 6-0; 3-Justina Mikulskyte (LTU) bt Daria Kudashova 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Final Qualifying round: 16-Anjali Rathi bt 6-Sowjanya Bavisetti 4-6, 6-3, 11-9; 2-Ikumi Yamazaki (JPN) bt 11-Yashaswini Panwar 6-3, 6-2; 4-Vaishnavi Adkar bt 9-Saumya Vig 6-0, 2-6, 10-7; 5-Ekaterina Kazionova bt Shria Atturu (USA) 6-1, 6-0; 7-Rinon Okuwaki (JPN) Vs. 10-Kundali Majgaine 6-3, 6-7 (3), 10-3; 8-Madhurima Sawant bt 15-Snehal Mane 7-6 (1), 6-4; 3-Michika Ozeki (JPN) bt Sonal Patil 6-3, 6-4; 12- Abhilasha Bista (NEP) bt Siri Patil 6-4, 6-1.

Doubles (Round of 16): Akiko Omae (JPN)/Ikumi Yamazaki (JPN) bt Vaishnavi Adkar/Humera Baharmus 6-4, 6-0; Ekaterina Kazionova/Yasmine Mansouri (FRA) bt WC-Sowjanya Bavisetti/Diva Bhatia 6-2, 6-2; 3-Anastasia Gasanova/Ekaterina Yashina bt Ayumi Koshiishi (JPN)/Sahaja Yamalapalli (IND) 6-3, 6-3; 4-Yeonwoo Ku (KOR)/Diana Marcinkevica (LAT) bt Sharmada Balu/Ranah Akua Stoiber (GBR) 7-5, 7-6 (4).



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Title: ITF Women’s Open: Ankita Raina, Zeel Desai make winning start in Gurugram

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