India No 1 Ankita Raina added another memorable first to her Australia trip by claiming her first WTA title with a doubles win at the Phillip Island Trophy. Raina and her partner Russian Kamilla Rakhimova beat Anna Blinkova and Anastasia Potapova 2-6, 6-4, 10-7 in the final on Friday.
Raina, who is ranked 181 in singles and 115 in women’s doubles, is set to break into the top 100 in doubles with this win. Both the Russian opponents are ranked higher.
In the semi-finals, the Indo-Russian pair had got another close win over Francesca Jones and Nadia Podoroska, beating them 4-6, 6-4, 11-9 after saving match points in the match tiebreak. En route the title, they beat fifth seeds Oksana Kalashnikova and Cornelia Lister as well.
The 28-year-old had earlier qualified for and earned her first-ever WTA singles main draw win at the tournament in Australia, when she came back from a set down to beat Elizabetta Cocciaretto 5-7, 6-1, 6-2.
She also made her Grand Slam debut at the Australian Open, but lost in her opener while playing doubles with Mihaela Buzarnescu. Incidentally, she beat the Romanian on the way to her title.
Earlier in the year, Raina had competed in the Yarra Valley Classic and Thailand Open on the WTA Tour but lost in the first round.
Raina has a WTA 125K title in doubles to her name when she and Karman Kaur Thandi, India’s top two women’s players, won their first doubles title together at the OEC Open trophy in Taipei back in 2018. That was the first WTA title, singles or doubles, for both Indians.