Ankita Raina plays a forehand during her first round match against Carolina Gomez
of Spain during the 2023 ITF World Tennis Tour W100 Vitoria-Gasteiz at Pena Vitoriana Tenis Club on July 19, 2023. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images for ITF)
INDIA’s Ankita Raina made the most of her lucky loser place to reach the last 16 of the Prague Open on Wednesday (2), securing her first win on the main WTA Tour in 2023.
The 30-year-old, who had been defeated in qualifying before winning a reprieve in the main draw, beat home hope Barbora Strycova 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Raina, ranked a lowly 196, will face Czech teenager Linda Noskova for a place in the quarter-finals.
Strycova, 37, is playing her final year on the tour and arrived in Prague on the back of securing the Wimbledon women’s doubles title alongside Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei last month.
Raina entered the Prague Open through qualifiers. She won the opening round of the qualifiers by beating Czech Republic’s Amelie Smejcalova in straight sets (6-3, 6-2) but lost in the following round by receiving two bagels against fifth seed Dayana Yastremska (0-6, 0-6). However, with Russian and Belarusian players not allowed to participate, Ankita advanced to the main draw as a lucky loser.
Recently, Ankita’s performance has been impressive, reaching the semi-finals of the WTA 250 Poland Open in doubles and entering the main draw through qualifiers in singles. As a result of her recent success, her WTA singles and doubles rankings have improved, currently placing her at 177th in the live rankings. With a few more wins, she could potentially secure a better position in the US Open qualifiers, according to reports.
Raina was born in Gujarat to Kashmiri Pandit parents Lalita Raina and Ravinder Kishen Raina. She spent her early life in Ahmedabad before relocating to Pune at the age of 14.