In what has shaped up to be a packed week for Indian tennis players, N Sriram Balaji, Sasi Kumar Mukund and Ankita Raina started their campaigns with wins.
India’s highest ranked women’s singles player Raina and her doubles partner Ashley Kratzer stunned fourth seed Xinyu Jiang and Qianhui Tang pair 5-7, 6-4, 10-6 to reach the quarter-final of the $125K WTA event in Anning, China.
Raina will begin her singles campaign on Tuesday, taking on third seed and former US Open winner Sam Stosur in the first round. The India had lost 4-6, 4-6 to her in Dubai last year.
At the ATP Challenger in Nanchang, China, Sasi Kumar Mukund advanced to the second round after a walkover win over Renta Tokuda who retired trailing 6-1, 3-1. The Indian will play seventh seed Nikola Milojevic next.
N Sriram Balaji entered the round of 32 with a fighting win over China’s Bai Yan. The 29-year-old went down 2-6 in the first set but put up a valiant fight in a marathon contest to win the next two sets. Balaji won the second sets 6-2 before holding his nerve in the tie-break to win 7-6.
Ramkumar Ramanathan will be the top-ranked Indian in the singles draw after Prajnesh Gunneswaran pulled out.
On the ATP circuit, Leander Paes and partner Benoit Paire bowed out in the final round of doubles qualifying. The Indo-French pair lost to wildcards Roberto Carballes Baena and Jaume Munar 7-6(3), 7-5. They had earlier beaten second seeds Austin Krajicek and Artem Sitak 4-6, 6-4, 10-7.