Ankita Raina misses out on spot in French Open main draw

Indian tennis player Ankita Raina lost her second-round qualifier to Japan’s Kurumi Nara.

By Utathya Nag

India’s top-ranked women’s tennis player Ankita Raina was unable to book a spot at the French Open women’s singles main draw.

The 27-year-old Raina lost her second-round qualifier 6-3, 6-2 to Japan’s Kurumi Nara, who is seeded 22nd in the tournament.

This was the second time Raina and Nara faced off on the pro circuit, with the Japanese emerging victorious in their earlier encounter at an ITF event in Japan last year.

Playing in her maiden second-round Grand Slam qualifier match, Raina suffered an early blow as Kurumi Nara broke her in the very first game of the first set and then held her serve to take a 2-0 lead from the get-go.

Ankita Raina did manage to hold her next two serves but had no answers to the Japanese player’s accurate service game. Nara broke Raina again in the seventh game to make it 5-2.

With the Japanese serving for the set in the eighth, Raina dug deep and finally managed to win her first break point of the match to prolong the set.

Indian tennis player Ankita Raina

Any hope of a stunning comeback, however, was immediately snuffed out by Nara as she broke the Indian in the very next game – a long one running for almost seven minutes - to wrap up the first set 6-3.

Kurumi Nara continued her dominance in the second set as well. The world. No 148 in WTA singles rankings broke Raina in the second and fourth games to race to a 4-0 lead with little resistance from the Indian. Raina is ranked 176 in WTA singles,

Raina, however, put up a gritty show in the fifth, breaking the Japanese after coming back from 40-15. But it had little impact on the final result as Nara proceeded to break Raina again in the eighth to win the second set 6-2.

“It was not bad. I had chances in my service game but she returned very well today,” Raina summed up. “If I had converted those games, then it would have been different.”

The straight-set loss marked an end to Raina’s ambitions of becoming the first Indian woman to play in the main draw of a Grand Slam singles event since Sania Mirza competed at the 2012 Australian Open.

The loss also ends Indian hopes of any singles representation at the French Open 2020. Men’s hopeful Sumit Nagal had already bowed out after a first-round qualifiers loss. His compatriot Prajnesh Gunneswaran, meanwhile, was knocked out in the second round.