SAG Tennis: Ankita’s golden double as India dominates

Ankita Raina realised a golden double as India dominated the tennis events winning all the three finals played here at the All-Assam Tennis Association complex on Wednesday.

Ankita Raina (right) who took the singles gold, partnered Divij Sharan to win the mixed doubles. Prerna Bhambri (left) won the silver in singles.   -  Ritu Raj Konwar

Ankita Raina realised a golden double as India dominated the tennis events winning all the three finals played here at the All-Assam Tennis Association complex on Wednesday. India enjoyed the gold rush riding the fine form of its Fed Cup and Davis Cup members who were present in good numbers. India also confirmed a clean sweep of the five golds with its players booking both the slots in the remaining two finals to be played on the concluding day on Thursday.

Ankita Raina won the women’s singles gold beating compatriot Prerna Bhambri before pairing up with Divij Sharan to win the mixed doubles gold and be the most successful player of the day. The third gold went to the men’s pair of Ramkumar Ramanathan and Vijay Sundar Prashanth, who outclassed their compatriots Divij Sharan and Sanam Singh for the title.

Ankita Raina extended her good form with an overriding performance in the singles against her Fed Cup teammate Prerna, who could win just one game against the former before losing the semi-final. Ankita, who boosted her career with some outstanding results against much higher ranked players in the Fed Cup matches in Thailand earlier this month, proved too good for Prerna.

The top-seeded Ankita dominated from the start breaking Prerna’s serve in the very first game. The second-seeded Prerna, the national champion on the last four occasions, could not get into the groove as Ankita kept pounding strong strokes.

Prerna could hold none of her service games in the match, unable to withstand the relentless attack of Ankita, who won the match 6-1, 6-0 in just 59 minutes. “I am trying to get my service right and am attacking with more power. I am playing the WTA circuit more frequently and that is helping me better my tennis,” Ankita, who is performing with more consistency this year, said after claiming her second gold medal.

The top-seeded Saketh Myneni and the second-seeded Ramkumar Ramanathan won their respective singles semi-finals against Aisam Qureshi of Pakistan and Shamal Dissanayake of Sri Lanka in contrasting styles to fix up a title clash. The win helped Ramkumar brighten the prospect of a second SAG gold as he had won the doubles title pairing up with Prashanth.

The results (all Indians unless specified):

Women’s singles: Final: Ankita Raina bt Prerna Bhambri 6-1, 6-0.

Doubles: Semi-finals: Sharmada Balu & Prarthana Thombare bt Amritha Muttiah & Medhira Samarasinghe (Sri) 6-1, 6-1; Rishika Sunkara & Natasha Palha bt Thisuri Molligoda & Nethmie Waduge (Sri) 6-2, 6-0.

Men’s singles: Semi-finals: Saketh Myneni bt Aisam Ulhaq Qureshi (Pak) 6-2, 6-1; Ramkumar Ramanathan bt Shamal Dissanayake (Sri) 6-4, 7-5.

Doubles: Final: Ramkumar Ramanathan & Vijay Sundar Prashanth bt Divij Sharan & Sanam Singh 6-3, 6-4.

Mixed doubles: Final: D. Sharan & A. Raina bt S. Singh & P. Thombare 6-2, 7-6(3).