India Round-up: Raina picks up a win, Sharan-Balaji enter semis and Gunneswaran suffers defeat
By Saurabh Singh | AITA
Indian tennis players are slowly getting back to professional tennis action at various tournaments being organised in Europe this week.
One of them is the leading women’s player Ankita Raina, ranked 166th on the WTA singles ranking, who won her maiden match after the COVID-19 outbreak halted global tennis in March.
Playing her second tournament after the unprecedented break, Raina beat Japan’s Kyoka Okamura in straight sets 7-5, 6-4 to enter round two of the ITF Women’s World Tennis Tour’s W25 Prague 2020.
The win comes after opening round setbacks at the 2020 WTA Prague Open in both singles and doubles categories.
Interestingly, singles second seed Raina will now face her doubles partner from Netherlands Suzan Lamens in round two.
Lamens, who is ranked 530th in the world, reached the second round without having to sweat much as her first-round opponent, Croatia’s Tereza Mrdeza, retired hurt at 3-6, 0-2.
In their doubles round one tie, the number two seeds Raina and Lamens received a walkover.
Sharan-Balaji enter semi-finals of Prostejov Challenger in Czech Republic
The all Indian pairing of Divij Sharan, world no 58, and N. Sriram Balaji, world no 144, have produced two scintillating back-to-back wins to enter the semi-finals of the Moneta Czech Open being held in Prostejov, Czech Republic.
In their pre-quarters tie against the Aussies Alex Bolt and Marc Polmans, the Indian duo fought back hard after being a set down to register a come-from-behind win 3-6, 6-3, 10-6.
To reach the semis, Sharan-Balaji pairing beat the third-seeded team, Sweden’s Andre Goransson and Portugal’s Goncalo Oliviera, comfortably in straight sets 6-1, 6-4.
The Indians await the winner of Tomislav Brkic (BIH)-Luca Margaroli (SUI) and David Poljak (CZE)-Dalibor Svrcina (CZE) to fight for a spot in the finals.
Gunneswaran falters at ATP 250 Generali Open in Austria
India’s second highest-ranked player Prajnesh Gunneswaran suffered another disappointing result as he faltered one step before making it to the main draw of the ATP 250 Generali Open being held at Kitzbuhel, Austria.
The Indian endured a similar setback as he did in New York at the US Open. Gunneswaran had travelled all the way from Chennai to the United States but missed out on getting into the main draw by one spot.
Playing the qualifying here in Austria, the Indian dug deep in the first round of the qualifiers to defeat local player Sandro Kopp 6-4, 1-6, 6-4.
However, in the second round qualifying, 24-year-old Swiss Marc-Andrea Huesler beat the 30-year-old Indian in straight sets 6-3, 6-3