WTA show helped my confidence grow: Ankita

WTA show helped my confidence grow: Ankita

Her maiden entry into the quarterfinals of a WTA series event here, the USD 125,000 L&T Mumbai Open, has given a huge boost to her confidence going ahead, feels Ankita Raina.

Ankita also wished that her coach Hemant Bendrey could travel with her on the WTA circuit overseas, going by the way his presence at the Cricket Club of India helped her iron out some mid-tournament shortcomings.

"I am happy it helped me with my confidence and made me believe that I could be at the top level and I could achieve that," the 24-year-old Ankita told PTI a day after losing to France's higher ranked player Amandine Hesse in the quarterfinals.  

The Ahmedabad-born, Pune-based Ankita ranked 293 which is bound to go up when the next week's list is released - went down 3-6, 6-7 to Hesse, but should have taken at least a set off the Frenchwoman, ranked 265.

Had the Indian won, it would have given her a chance to line up against the fast-rising 19-year-old top seed Aryna Sabalenka, at 96 the only top-100 player in the draw, in the semifinals.

She had earlier got past Veronika Kudermetova of Russia and P Plipuech to reach the last eight.

This, however, was not the first time Ankita, the country's number one singles player, won a round in a WTA series event, having done it previously two years ago in China.

"It was in the China 125K that I got in directly into the main draw with my ranking and won the first round," she said, adding, "It was around similar quality tournament. The Chinese players were there along with other top players."

She had also played at bigger WTA events, including the USD 7,00,000 event in Birmingham, which is a warm-up event for Wimbledon, and had won a round there in the qualifiers.

"I have played much bigger WTA qualifying events and won one or two rounds, but it was never splashed in India as I was playing abroad. In Birmingham, it was a USD 7,00,000 tournament, the warm-up before Wimbledon.

"I won the first round, was the only Indian there (in singles). Sania (Mirza) was there in doubles. It was something. I did it in Stuttgart last year and in the Tashkent Open made the final qualifiers, as well as in Hong Kong. (But) this is the best performance," she noted.

On the improvement needed in her game, she mentioned power, fitness and recovery process after games.

"Apart from power and fitness, I would mention my recovery after matches. You have to recover faster if you have to go deep in the draw as you have to play 4-5 matches to go to final."

 

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