Ankita gets better of Kanika to clinch crown

Ankita Raina asserted her class over Kanika Vaidya to win 6-4, 6-4 and clinch the singles title of the ONGC $10,000 ITF women tournament at the Delhi Lawn Tennis Associaton (DLTA) complex on  Saturday.

It was the second ITF title in three weeks for the 20-year-old Ankita who came on top with her fluent and consistent strokeplay. Kanika, who came through the qualifers to reach her maiden ITF final and impressed with her power-play, fell short with errors creeping into her game.

Nonetheless, it was a quality fare by both the players, who fought intensely for points. However, it was Ankita who emerged the better of the two by producing her best on crucial points and clinching decisive breaks in the tenth game of both the sets to pocket the match. In contrast, Kanika, 18,  struggled a bit with her serve, normally her weapon committing five double faults.

After exchanging early breaks, the two were locked at 4-4 before Ankita reeled off the next two games to go up a set, thanks to the two successive backhand errors from Kanika at 15-40 in her service game. The Singapore native, however, shot back in the second set when she broke Ankita straightaway in a prolonged game that went for five deuces. But she couldn't consolidate and was immediately broken back.

Before long, like in the first set, Ankita held her serve comfortably to nose ahead 5-4 and Kanika under pressure to hold hers, committed two  successive double faults to go down 0-40. She made an exit when she fluffed a forehand on the net.  

"She (Kanika) has improved a lot since I played her last year. It was a close match but my aggression and body language gave me the edge. I feel confident about my game," said Ankita, who would now be returning home to train under coach Hemant Bendrey.

Kanika admitted she fumbled on big points. "Her experience kicked in and I struggled at the big points.”

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