Ankita Raina is one of the most promising Indian tennis players, who has made a mark in the international arena with her achievements. She is the only Indian to receive a direct entry into the prestigious ITF Women’s Open, which will be held in Bengaluru from January 14 to 21. Here are some facts about her and the event that you should know.
A Bronze Medalist at the Asian Games
Ankita Raina was born on July 23, 1990, in Delhi. She started playing tennis at the age of six and was coached by her father, who was also a tennis player. She made her debut in the WTA circuit in 2010 and won her first ITF title in 2012. She has since won two WTA doubles titles and reached a career-high singles ranking of No. 67 in October 2018.
She also represented India at various international tournaments, such as the Fed Cup, the Davis Cup, and the Olympic Games. Her best performance came at the Asian Games in Jakarta 2018, where she won a bronze medal in singles after defeating Thailand’s Noppawan Lertcheewakul 6-4, 6-3. She also won a bronze medal in doubles with Sania Mirza against China’s Chen Qingchen and Wang Xiyu.
A Runner-Up at the ITF Women’s Open
The ITF Women’s Open is one of the most prestigious events for women’s tennis players from around the world. It is part of the ITF Women’s Circuit, which consists of over 1,000 tournaments across all levels and regions. The event offers a prize money of USD 40,000 and 50 WTA points to the winner.
The ITF Women’s Open will be hosted by the Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association (KSLTA) in Bengaluru for its third edition. The event will feature some of the top players from India and abroad, such as Ankita Raina, who is ranked No. 208 in singles according to WTA rankings. She is also one of four Indian players who have received wild cards for the main draw.
The other three Indian wild cards are Soha Sadiq (No. 823), Suhita Maruri (No. 1,239), and Shweta Nanda (No. 1,001). They will compete against eight qualifiers who will play between January 14-15. Among them are Darja Semenistaja from Latvia (No. 143), who is ranked higher than any other Indian player.
The event will also witness some exciting matches between local talents and international stars. For instance, Soha Sadiq will face former world No. 1 Kim Clijsters from Belgium (No. 1), while Suhita Maruri will take on former world No. 4 Caroline Wozniacki from Denmark (No. 2).
A Night Event with Lights and Finals
The ITF Women’s Open will be played under lights for the first time this year. This means that some matches will be held at night instead of during daylight hours due to scheduling conflicts or weather conditions.
The finals of both singles and doubles events will be played on January 21 at Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium. The stadium has a capacity of over six thousand spectators and is equipped with floodlights that can illuminate up to eight courts simultaneously.
The event aims to provide a unique experience for both players and fans by combining tradition and modernity. It also showcases Bengaluru as a global sporting destination that hosts high-quality events such as cricket matches between India and Australia earlier this year.
A Step Towards Global Recognition
The ITF Women’s Open is not only a prestigious tournament but also a stepping stone for Indian players who aspire to reach higher levels of tennis. It provides them with an opportunity to compete against some of their idols on familiar turf and learn from their skills and strategies.
Ankita Raina has already proven herself as one of India’s best tennis players by winning medals at various tournaments such as Wimbledon juniors’ doubles with Sania Mirza in London last year. She has also earned respect from her peers by reaching two Grand Slam quarter-finals with Venus Williams at Wimbledon last year.
By securing a direct entry into this event, Ankita Raina has shown her confidence and determination to challenge herself against some of the best players in women’s tennis history such as Martina Navratilova (No.1), Steffi Graf (No.2), Serena Williams (No.3), Monica Seles (No.4), Justine Henin (No. 5), Victoria Azarenka (No. 6), Li Na (No. 7), Simona Halep (No. 8), Naomi Osaka