Ankita Raina claimed her third career singles title defeating Eetee Maheta 6-3, 6-2 in the final of the $10,000 ITF women’s tennis tournament on a windy Saturday at the DLTA Complex here.
The 20-year-old Ankita raised her game in the summit clash with a strong serve and fewer errors. The second seed’s lethal forehand was also employed to good effect.
Eetee, in her first final, did not suffer any nerves but was overpowered by Ankita’s pace. The 17-year-old also failed to cope with Ankita’s ability to hit deep strokes.
Though Eetee did have her moments, they arrived intermittently. A more potent serve or forehand would have come in handy.
Her efforts to run Ankita to the flanks failed due to her inability to keep her strokes in play. Eetee later claimed that the excitement of playing her maiden final got the better of her.
Though Ankita carried a 2-0 win-loss record over her opponent into the final, she remained and did not lose focus throughout the contest.
“Eetee made a successful comeback in the semifinal against Natasha Palha. When I played her in Chennai earlier this year, I won the first set but she lost only in three. She has improved a lot over the past year and has many variations,” said the second seed.
Ankita rushed to a 4-1 lead in the opening set but then lost the next two games to bring Eetee back in the contest. Serving at game point in the following game, Eetee suffered from a poor line call when Ankita’s wide shot was called good. The second seed then took advantage of the lucky moment to claim the opening set.
The second set was more straightforward as, with each game, Ankita grew in confidence and Eetee’s challenge dissipated. After an hour and 20 minutes, Ankita won the match when Eette netted a forehand.
Ankita has now won three of the nine singles finals she has played and hoped the record would only get better with time.
“I won the first set in both the finals I lost in Hyderabad. Then, I used to worry about the match going into a third set. Now, I try my best to retain my focus and play the way I start. I have gone past my transition period and remain positive now,” said the Pune girl, who is coached by Hemant Bendre.
Ankita, who had lost in the final of a $25,000 event in Uzbekistan earlier this month, will now compete in a $25,000 tournament in Istanbul from July 8.
Final: Ankita Raina bt Eetee Maheta 6-3, 6-2.