India No 1 Ankita Raina got her French Open qualifying campaign off to a solid start by beating Jovana Jovic 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in a match that lasted 2 hours and 47 minutes to reach the second qualifying round.
She will face Japan’s Kurumi Nara, the 22nd seed, in the next round. The Japanese player beat Aubane Droguet in a tough three-setter 7-6, 3-6, 6-2 that lasted two hours and 9 minutes.
Raina hit 53 winners in her match but she also had 46 unforced errors. She clearly wasn’t holding back. On the other hand, Jovic played a much more circumspect game (23 winners as against 31 unforced errors).
If there is one thing that Raina would like to improve against Nara, it will be her breakpoint conversion rate. She only managed to convert 8 of the 21 breakpoint opportunities that came her way. Jovic stayed in the match by making the most of her chances, converting 7 of the 9 breakpoint opportunities that came her way.
Raina and Nara have never played each other before but the 28-year-old Japanese player has been ranked as high as 32 in the WTA singles rankings and she will have the edge in the experience department.
Nara usually tends to play a patient game and Raina’s aggressive game will be tested to the hilt. If she can keep her errors down, it could prove to be an interesting match.