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India's Ankita Raina wins first singles title of the year in Singapore

Ankita Raina

Bengaluru, Janaury 21: India's Ankita Raina won her first singles title of the year and eighth overall after beating Dutch top seed Arantxa Rus 6-3, 6-2 in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) World Tour W25 final in Singapore.

Coming into the tournament after competing at the Australian Open qualifiers, Ankita demolished world number 122 at the hard courts of Kallang Tennis Centre in the contested which lasted an hour and 23 minutes.

The 26-year-old toppled four seeded players in the tournament starting with Dutch eighth seed Lesley Kerkhove in the second round.

Ankita that up with wins over second seed Uzbek Sabina Sharipova and third seed Conny Perrin from Switzerland.

The 50 points earned from the triumph has seen Ankita jump 35 places to a career-high 168 in the latest WTA singles rankings issued on Monday.

"I've been working on my serve for a long while now and I think it's starting to help. I also feel there's more power in the strokes. It definitely helped playing the Grand Slam as the first tournament of the year. It gave a lot of positivity and self belief," Ankita told PTI news agency from Singapore.

"Even though I was a bit disappointed that I didn't qualify for the Australian Open since I expected that but I was grateful that I had reached where once I used to imagine I would be playing."

It was Ankita's fourth title at the W25 level. The Asian Games bronze medallist said the changes made to the circuit have made even the W25 tournaments much tougher.

"This tournament, even though it was W25 event, was a tough competition as all the qualifying players from Melbourne were here and also the last (in entry) was 250th ranked. I played seeded players from the second round itself and saw a lot of things that I was working on with my coach (Hemant Bendre) a few days ago.

"There were a few things that I needed to work on mentally which I am happy I could work with my coach as he was around before the tournament. He eventually left after the first round match due to other commitments back home.

"Also the things I am working for the last six months are paying off. In fact, we were working on it in the Australian open and will continue," she added.

Ankita will play two more tournaments before gearing up for the Fed Cup, starting in the first week of February at Astana, Kazakhstan.

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Story first published: Monday, January 21, 2019, 12:53 [IST]
Other articles published on Jan 21, 2019
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