Ankita Raina: 'Always a great feeling to end the year on a winning note'

Ankita Raina shot to her career-best doubles rank of 117, following the doubles title in the $100,000 women’s tennis event in Dubai.

Ankita Raina after winning the doubles trophy in Dubai.   -  Special Arrangement

Progress is often made only when you get out of the comfort zone.

Ankita Raina stepped out of her strong side, the ad court, while partnering Ekaterine Gorgodze of Georgia for a successful finish to the season.

“It is always a great feeling to end the year on a winning note,” said the 27-year-old Ankita, who shot to her career-best doubles rank of 117, following the doubles title in the $100,000 women’s tennis event in Dubai.

First-time partner

“I was playing with Ekaterine for the first time, and we were the last team to get in,” recalled Ankita.

“Since she is a lefty and was comfortable from her forehand side, I switched from my stronger side on the backhand. It was really fun playing with her, and am looking forward to partner her again. She is a fighter on court,” said Ankita.

Even though she had won the doubles title in a $125,000 event with Karman Kaur Thandi in 2018, Ankita pointed out that the tournament in Dubai had a field quality of a $250,000 WTA event.

READ: Ankita Raina wins ITF doubles title in Dubai

“More than the result, I am happy about the quality of performance, and the way I played. In the singles, I played a really good match against Siniakova, but a couple of errors changed the course of the match. I took the positives and it boosted my confidence,” said Ankita, who lost in three sets to Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic, who was ranked a career-best 31.

Ranked 180 in singles, as compared to her career-best 160 in the early part of the year, Ankita said she was trying to sharpen her singles game to get into the top-100 and play Grand Slam main draws.

Working on flaws

“Sometimes I become tentative, instead of more aggressive after winning the first set. I am working on correcting that. Though it was a bit rough in the beginning, am happy that it ended well,” said Ankita.

Now, the focus will be on training well, for the Australian Open qualifiers in Dubai, and boarding the flight to Melbourne.