Ankita Raina stuns Samantha Stosur for biggest win of career

The Indian, ranked 178, defeated the former US Open champion 7-5, 2-6, 6-5 at the Kunming Open in a gruelling contest that lasted two hours and fifty minutes.

Stunning win: Ankita Raina (in picture) faces Kai-Lin Zhang of China in the next round. File Photo: Vivek Bendre

Ankita Raina beat former World No. 4 and 2012 US Open champion Samantha Stosur of Australia 7-5, 2-6, 7-5 in a nerve-wracking battle that nearly spanned three hours at the 125K WTA Kunming Open in Anning, China on Wednesday.

Raina missed two break points at 4-4 in the decider, but then broke Stosur in the 11th game to serve for the match.

At 40-15, the 26-year-old Raina, ranked 178 in the world, missed both match points as Stosur hit a good shot to save one and the other was lost to an unforced error by the India No. 1.

“On the third match point that I won, I just told myself, ‘Believe’. It is now or never, and grab the opportunity,” said Raina. “This is a big confidence booster for my goal to achieve top 100 (ranking).”

“When I won the last point, I did not know how to react. After the handshake, when I went back to my chair, I could not control myself. I started crying. I had the flashback of everything that I had gone through all these years,” said Raina.

Having played well against Stosur in Dubai last year, Raina was confident of a good performance. “I knew what was coming and was mentally prepared. Considering her strength, I had a plan. It worked today. I was anxious, it was an intense match with a lot of emotions and nerves,” said Raina, who converted seven of 16 break points. She dropped serve seven times as well.

Raina won 120 points to Stosur’s 119, and it was the winning point that mattered. Stosur served seven aces and 18 double faults, while Raina had three aces, six double faults and a 70 percent first-serve success rate.

“I have been working hard. My team believed in me… My coach Hemant Bendrey had told me that I would definitely have a big performance in the WTA circuit and be in the top 100.” said Raina.

Even though her coach has not accompanied her, Raina has trainer Gaurav Nijhon with her in China. That should ensure good recovery for her between matches, as she is competing in doubles as well.

Meanwhile, on the red clay of the Hungarian Open in Budapest, Divij Sharan in partnership with Marcelo Demoliner of Brazil prevailed 6-3, 4-6, 11-9 over Robert Lindstedt of Sweden and Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan in the doubles pre-quarterfinals.

Sharan and partner will meet third seeds Ken and Neal Skupski of Britain in the quarterfinals.

At the Nanchang Challenger in China, Ramkumar Ramanathan cruised into the singles pre-quarterfinals but lost in doubles in partnership with Vishnu Vardhan.

The results:

€ 586,140 ATP, Budapest, Hungary Doubles (pre-quarterfinals): Marcelo Demoliner (Bra) & Divij Sharan bt Robert Lindstedt (Swe) & Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi 6-3, 4-6, [11-9].

$125,000 WTA, Anning, China Singles (first round): Ankita Raina bt Samantha Stosur (Aus) 7-5, 2-6, 7-5.

$54,160 Challenger, Nanchang, China Singles (second round): Go Soeda (Jpn) bt Sriram Balaji 6-4, 6-4; Ramkumar Ramanathan bt Rigele Te (Chn) 6-3, 6-2; Andrew Harris (Aus) bt Vishnu Vardhan 6-2, 6-3.

Doubles (pre-quarterfinals): Jamie Cerretani (US) & Sriram Balaji bt Rigele Te & Di Wu (Chn) 6-2, 6-4; Sander Arends (Ned) & Tristan-Samuel Weissborn (Aut) bt Ramkumar Ramanathan & Vishnu Vardhan 6-4, 7-5.

$ 54,160 Challenger, Tallahassee, US Singles (second round): Sumit Nagal bt Santiago Giraldo (Col) 6-2, 4-3 (retired).

$25,000 ITF men, Abuja, Nigeria Singles (first round): Sadio Doumbia (Fra) bt Kunal Anand 6-4, 6-1; Tom Jomby (Fra) bt Suraj Prabodh 6-1, 6-3; Danylo Kalenichenko (Ukr) bt Vijay Sundar Prashanth 6-1, 6-0.

$15,000 ITF men, Cairo, Egypt Singles (first round): Giovanni Samaha (Lbn) bt Muthu Aadhitiya Senthilkumar 6-4, 6-2.

Doubles (pre-quarterfinals): Julius Tverijonas & Simonas Zukauskas (Ltu) bt Muthu Aadhitiya Senthilkumar & VM Ranjeet 7-5, 2-6, [10-4]; Giovani Samaha (Lbn) & Anirudh Chandrasekar bt Yeongseok Jeong & Uisung Park (Kor) 6-3, 3-6 [10-7].

$15,000 ITF women, Cairo, Egypt Singles (first round): Aneta Laboutkova (Cze) bt Snehal Mane 6-0, 6-0; Melanie Klaffner (Aut) bt Saumya Vig 6-0, 6-1.