Ankita Raina wins maiden USD 25,000 ITF singles title

Continuing her steady progress in the WTA circuit, India's Ankita Raina overwhelmed British teenager Katy Dunne in straight sets in a one-sided final to lift her maiden USD 25,000 ITF singles title at the Deccan Gymkhana here on Saturday.

Ankita Raina wins maiden USD 25,000 ITF singles title

Pune: Continuing her steady progress in the WTA circuit, India's Ankita Raina overwhelmed British teenager Katy Dunne in straight sets in a one-sided final to lift her maiden USD 25,000 ITF singles title at the Deccan Gymkhana here on Saturday.

The 21-year-old Ahmedabad-born player, who trains in this city, hardly broke a sweat while romping to a 6-2 6-2 victory over her 19-year-old British rival in the NECC-ITF women's tournament.

This was the India no.1 woman singles player's maiden USD 25,000 title and the 294-ranked Ankita expressed her delight over becoming the first from the host nation to clinch a title in the tournament after 14 years.

"I am happy to win in Pune and become the first Indian to win after 14 years here. It just proves that Indian players can do it," said fourth seed Ankita who had won three USD 10,000 singles titles last year, but none this year prior to today's win in a higher-category event.

Radhika Tulpule, the then national women's champion, had won it in the inaugural year of the tournament by beating compatriot Archana Venkatraman in the final.

Ankita, who earned 50 WTA points besides pocketing the winner's prize money of USD 3,919 (around Rs 2.45 lakh), broke her rival's serve five times in two sets while dropping her own only once in the title clash.

Though the British teenager, the sixth seed, served two aces, she also committed five double faults while striving harder.

"I'm happy to end the year on a happy note. Finally it's the end of the year," Ankita said.

"This year my aim was to reach 200 and hopefully I will break into 260 (following the title triumph). I want to improve my rankings and play more WTA events next year," she added.

Dunne received USD 2,091 and 30 points for finishing runer-up in singles.

"Since I was playing this final in Pune and with the kind of support I got from fans, I wanted to give my best," said Ankita, who now heads to Kerala for the National Games.

The match began on equal terms as the two players held their serves till 3-2 when Ankita broke Katy to go 4-2 up. She then took the seventh game at love before breaking the Briton again to wrap up the first set 6-2.

"When the second set began, I decided to hurry up the things. Even though I was broken in the opening game, I calmed myself down and waited for Katy to commit mistakes," she explained.

After Ankita dropped serve for the first and only time to trail 1-2, she hit back immediately to bring the set on even keel when Katy double faulted.

The turn of things frustrated Dunne and when she threw her racket she was given a warning by the chair umpire. Katy again double-faulted in the sixth game when she was down 30-40 to hand a commanding 4-2 lead to Ankita.

The Indian then took the next game without much of a fuss and then earned two championship points at 15-40 before the British girl hit long for Ankita to complete a memorable win.
"It didn't go as well as I had hoped for. I had a good week winning over better rated players, and I expected to do well today," said Dunne.