New Delhi, November 20, 2018: You’d think Ankita Raina and Karman Kaur Thandi would’ve shed a tear or two of joy after capturing the first ever WTA title of their respective careers. Instead, the two Indians were left weeping on court even during their moment of glory.
The women’s doubles final of $125,000 WTA event in Taipei was locked tantalisingly at 12-12 in the super tie-breaker when Russia’s Natela Dzalamidze suffered a crushing fall. Having suffered a strain on the same part of her leg earlier in the final, Natela was in no position to continue according to the reports published in dnaindia.com.
Lying on the court in pain, her compatriot Olga Doroshina stood by her side, while Ankita and Karman crossed over to the other side of the net.
“In all this, I realised that we had won. I looked over to Karman but at that particular moment, we were in no mood to feel happy about it,” she added.
It was an anticlimax to what was a see-saw title clash, the Indian pair being crowned champions after the Russian fourth seeds retired at 12-12 in the super tie-breaker with the first two sets split 6-3 and 5-7.
Once the emotions had settled down, India’s top two singles players could afford to celebrate their respective firsts at the WTA level, even though it came in doubles.
Playing together for the first time on the Tour, Ankita — ranked 296th in doubles — and Karman — placed at world No. 333 — had a rather unexpected maiden outing as partners, taking down the third seeds in the semifinals before the title triumph.
“The best part is that my first WTA title has come with an Indian,” Ankita said. “I have been wanting to pair up with an Indian for a long time but the rapport has to be good and game styles have to combine well. Touch wood, that has finally happened.”
The decision to come together was taken in Mumbai earlier this month during the WTA Mumbai Open, when the young Karman got her doubles rankings high enough so that she and Ankita could make the cut for tournaments as a pair.
“I said, ‘yeah sure, let’s play.’ There was nothing to lose anyway,” Ankita, who has 13 ITF doubles titles, said.
According to the reports published in dnaindia.com the 20-year-old Karman, with her ferocious forehands and big serves, complemented the solid overall game of the 25-year-old Ankita, and the duo is now keen on playing together in more tournaments next season.
Personally for Ankita, her maiden WTA triumph is a sweet reward for a productive singles season, where she made the cut in the qualifying rounds of the French Open and Wimbledon as well as bagged bronze at the Asian Games.
“This title means a lot to me,” Ankita said. “I was really wishing for it. I told my coach (Hemant Bendrey) that I want to win a WTA title this year.
“This will give me more belief, and it will motivate me to work harder. Hopefully, this is the kick for bigger things next year,” she said.
Round of 16: beat H Lee/J Garland (TPE) 6-3 6-3 Quarterfinals: beat E Liang/Y Lee (TPE) 4-6 6-4 10-8 Semifinals: beat 3-D Kovinic/M Doi (MON/JPN) 6-7(2) 6-4 10-8Final: beat 4-N Dzalamidze/O Doroshina (RUS) 6-3 5-7 12-12-retd