Ankita packs off Melinkova

Indian enters last eight stage; Myneni through

Ankita packs off Melinkova
India’s top women singles player Ankita Raina took out second-seeded Marina Melnikova 6-1, 6-4 to storm into the $25,000 ITF women’s singles quarterfinals of the Delhi Open at Delhi Lawn tennis Association (DLTA) on Wednesday.

Ankita, 23, is coming into the tournament on a streak of good performances at the recently concluded South Asian Games, where she won two gold medals, and the Fed Cup, where she had beaten world number 56 Nao Hibino. She admitted the triumph over the top 100 player boosted her confidence.

“I made a few errors but the balls here are light and courts a bit fast.  I kept her on the move. She can create good angles, especially with her backhand, so the strategy of making her move really worked for me, “said Ankita, who would next play another Russian in Anna Morgina. Morgin eked out a tough second round win against seventh-seeded France’s Sherazad Reix 6-3, 6-7(3), 6-3.

Ankita is now the only surviving Indian in the women’s singles after both Karman Kaur Thandi and Mihika Yadav bowed out in the second round.

Thandi, a wildcard entrant, went down to Taipei’s Ya Hsuan Lee, seeded fourth, 3-6, 4-6 while Mihika proved no match to Thailand's Kamonwan Buayam in her 2-6, 2-6 loss.

Also to move into the quarterfinals of $50,000 ATP challenger was India’s fourth-seeded Saketh Myneni, who brushed aside Australian Matthew Barton 6-3, 6-4 in the men's singles second round.

Myneni served strong and stroked fluently to get the better of Barton and set up a clash with Chinese Zhe Li. Li put curtains to the challenge of Indian qualifier Vishnu Vardhan with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 win.

“I knew I had to be aggressive from the start. He has big ground strokes and I knew I could not afford to let my level dip.  There are no easy opponents at this level,” Myneni said.

In the other men’s singles,  Dmitry Popko of Kazakhstan staved off a stiff first set challenge from Italian Roberto Marcora 7-6(6), 6-3 to set up a quarterfinal match-up with third-seeded Stephane Robert of France.

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