India’s top woman tennis player Ankita Raina defeated Australian Arina Rodionova in a first round French Open qualifier. The Indian beat Rodionova 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 in a hard-fought game which saw her come back from a set down. She will now face Greet Minnen of Belgium in the second round on Wednesday.
Ankita lost the first set and looked like crashing out of the qualifiers early. However, she came back to defeat the Australian in the next two sets to advance to the next round.
Minnen, her opponent for the next round, defeated Poland’s Urszula Radwanska. Interestingly, this match also ended up being a three-set battle.
The Belgian has a better WTA ranking, so naturally starts the match as a favourite. She is ranked 125 in singles competition as opposed to Ankita’s rank of 182.
History is also not Ankita’s friend in this regard. She is yet to make the main draw of the singles event at any Grand Slam.
She has, however, made the main round of a Grand Slam in a doubles tournament. Earlier this year, she became the fifth Indian woman to qualify for the main draw of a Grand Slam.
This accomplishment came when she played the first round doubles at the Australian Open.
It is also worth noting that she isn’t the only Indian player looking to make it to Roland Garros. India’s ace male tennis player Sumit Nagal will take on Roberto Marcora of Italy in the first round of qualifiers.
Unlike Raina, Nagal has some experience of playing in a singles Grand Slam draw. He made his singles Grand Slam bow in the 2019 US Open.
He lost that match to 20-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer. However, he managed to take a set off the Swiss legend in an impressive showing.
Nagal has also won a Grand Slam singles match. In the first round of the 2020 French Open, he beat American Bradley Klahn. However, he faced second seed Dominic Thiem in the second round – and lost by straight sets.
It is worth noting that Nagal is ranked higher (143) than his opponent Marcora (192).