File photo of Ankita Raina.
Experienced German Tatjana Maria outclassed India No. 1 Ankita Raina 6-0, 6-1 in the opening round of the singles main draw of the Chennai Open WTA 250 tennis tournament in Chennai on Tuesday. Russian Anastasia Gasanova sent top-seed Alison-Riske Amritraj packing with a 6-2 6-3 win in an hour and 29 minutes. The fourth-seed Maria proved too good for the 29-year old Indian, dashing her hopes in an hour and 15 minutes. The Wimbledon semifinalist did not allow Raina any chance.
Though the German did not hit too many winners, she simply sliced her way to success. She opted for the slice on numerous occasions, frustrating the local player.
The first set was over in 31 minutes with the No. 4 seed making the most of a weak Raina serve while saving two break points on her own serve.
The second too appeared to be heading towards a rout before the Indian managed to win a game.
The fact that Raina could win only 38 out of the 101 points to her opponent’s 63 indicated the gulf in standard and the Indian’s struggles.
Maria said, “Actually I am very happy (to win). She is the Indian No.1 and I am glad to have beaten her as she had the crowd behind her. I only tried to make her play as many balls as possible.” Maria will meet Argentina’s Nadia Podoroska for a spot in the quarter-finals.
Riske-Amritraj wasn’t in her element all through the match and struggled for rhythm and while serving.
Gasanova ran away with the first set after the players exchanged breaks early in the match. The American, who has risen to the world No. 23 from 29 following a last 16 appearance at the US Open last week, could not justify the top billing given to her. She was not able to impose her game on her 23-year-old opponent from Russia.
“I didn’t expect to win like this. I gave it my all,” Gasanova said after the match.
She further said, “I wanted to take a break from tennis after the US Open. I didn’t get a visa for the US Open last year and was looking forward to it this year. But the 1st round loss was terrible and I wanted to take a break. But then I saw the tournament in India and thought why not.” Results- Singles (1st round): Anastasia Gasanova beat Alison Riske-Amritraj (USA-X1) 6-2, 6-3; Katie Swan (Britain) beat Arianne Hartono (the Netherlands) 6-1, 6-2; Nadia Podoroska beat Kyoka Okamura (Japan) 6-4, 6-3; Tatjana Maria (X4) beat Ankita Raina (India) 6-0, 6-1; Oksana Selekhmeteva beat Despina Papamichail (Greece) 6-3, 6-1; Carol Zhao (Canda) beat Olivia Tjandramulia (Australia) 6-1, 6-1.
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