India No 1 Ankita Raina won her first-ever WTA singles main draw match, making the trip to Australia memorable after a disappointing doubles debut at the ongoing Australian Open.
However, there was a bigger shock for women’s tennis as beaten Australian Open title-holder Sofia Kenin was stunned by unranked teenager Olivia Gadecki.
World 181 Raina, who had to qualify for the tournament, came back from a set down to beat Elizabetta Cocciaretto 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 at Phillip Island Trophy.
In the qualifiers on Saturday, she had beaten Gabriella Da Silva Fick 6-0, 4-5, 6-4 making it back-to-back three-set wins.
The two-hour and 11 minutes win will take Raina to at least her new career-high singles rank of 156 from 181. If she goes deep, then she will ensure herself a place in top-150.
Raina had competed in the Yarra Valley Classic and Thailand Open on the WTA Tour but lost in the first round.
The 28-year-old Indian said the conditions were tough but eventually she found a way to win. “It was very very windy today. I began well but she (Elisabetta) got more consistent. But in the second and third set I played solid,” she said.
Forgettable week for Kenin
Kenin, whose maiden Grand Slam title defence ended in the second round this week, suffered an almost unthinkable defeat by the 18-year-old Australian, who won 2-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4.
Kenin, the world No 4, had been in tears after her straight-sets Australian Open loss to Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi on Thursday.
But the American also failed to get further than the second round in the Phillip Island Trophy, which is being held alongside the Australian Open in Melbourne.
Gadecki becomes the first unranked player to beat top-10 opposition in 24 years, following a 15-year-old Mirjana Lucic-Baroni’s win over Amanda Coetzer in the 1997 Bol semi-finals.
The Gold Coast resident, who had never before played anyone inside the top 200, has just $2,189 in career prize money – compared to the $2.8 million Kenin picked up for winning the Australian Open last year.
With PTI and AFP Inputs
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