Pune, Dec 26 (IANS) India’s Ankita Raina blasted her way into the final of the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) women’s $25,000 tennis tournament, beating a gutsy Romanian Cristina Ene 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 at the Deccan Gymkhana courts here Friday.
Ankita also became only the sixth Indian to make it thus far in the 14-year history of the tournament.
Only one Indian had managed to win this tournament and Ankita will try and get her name in the record books when she takes on Katy Dunne of Britain in the summit clash Saturday.
The then national champion Radhika Tulpule had won the title in the inaugural year in 2001 when she beat Archana Venkatraman in three sets.
For the fourth seed Ankita, it wasn’t an easy match as the score-line would suggest. But the Indian stood firm to make the grade.
Qualifier Cristina was in her top form in making it to the semi-finals after having beaten second seed Cindy Burger of the Netherlands in the first round. But Ankita showed little respect to those statistics as the Pune-based player went on to take the first set 6-1 in just 35 minutes.
Ankita’s services could pose problems against Katy Dunne on the morrow as was evident in the second set against Cristina. Sending down two aces the Romanian showed that she was not ready to give up so easily. She went 3-1 up and then broke Ankita in the fifth and ninth games. In between Ankita broke Cristina in the sixth game, but the set belonged to big serving Romanian.
There was heavy trading of serves in the decider that saw Ankita breaking Cristina in the third, fifth, seventh and ninth games. The Romanian wasn’t ready to give up that easily as she fought back and broke the Indian in the sixth and eighth games, but Ankita won her service in the second and fourth games to end the contest lasting just about two hours.
It had been seven years since any Indian made it to the final and with the kind of form Ankita has been carrying, it would be warning bells for the sixth seed Katy Dunne.
The second semi-final was a tame affair and Katy defeated third seed Sofia Shapatava of Georgia 6-1, 6-2.
Meanwhile, Russian Anna Morgina and her partner Nina Stojanovic of Serbia upset the top seeded pair of Anastasiya Vasylyeva of Ukraine and Oksana Kalashnikova of Georgia to win the women’s doubles title.
The Russia-Serbia pair were taken to the distance in the first set, but the two held firm to take the tie-breaker 9-7. The top seeded pair committed six double faults to lose crucial points before going down in the second set 4-6 and the match.
Semi-finals: Katy Dunne (Gbr) bt Sofia Shapatava (Geo) 6-1, 6-2; Ankita Raina (Ind) bt Cristina Ene (Rou) 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.
Doubles Final: Anna Morgina (Rus) and Nina Stojanovic (Srb) bt Oksana Kalashnikova (Geo) and Anastasiya Vasylyeva (Ukr) 7-6 (9-7), 6-4.