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Australian Open: Ankita Raina becomes third Indian woman to feature in Grand Slam main draw | Tennis News – Times of India

MELBOURNE: Ankita Raina on Sunday turned solely the third Indian woman tennis participant to safe a spot in the main draw of a Grand Slam as she made the minimize for the ladies’s doubles occasion of the Australian Open.
The 12 months’s first Grand Slam begins right here on Monday.
After lacking out on the ladies’s singles main draw, she nonetheless had an opportunity to qualify as a ‘fortunate loser’ until the completion of the primary spherical, however the 28-12 months-outdated realised a protracted-time dream when she signed up with Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnecu and earned a direct entry.
Only Sania Mirza and Nirupama Vaidyanathan have competed in the Grand Slam main attracts for India earlier than.
Ankita is barely the second Indian after Sania, a six-time Grand Slam champion, to compete in the ladies’s doubles of a tennis main. Nirupama was the primary to crack a Grand Slam main draw, again in 1998 at Australian Open.
The braveheart, who performed a key function in Indian Fed Cup group’s great progress, mentioned though singles maintain a special significance, making the doubles too is particular.
“It’s first main draw of a Grand Slam, so singles or doubles, I will take it. It’s special. Years of hard work, toil and now I am there. Not only my hard work but blessings and support of countless people have brought me here, I can’t forget that,” Ankita advised PTI moments after getting confirming her entry.
“I know it’s doubles but India’s name will be there. These are the moments that spark something among people. Maybe a few will start dreaming that it’s possible,” she added.
“People start believing. We touch many small milestones but this one is at a pinnacle. Anyone who starts playing professional tennis, dreams of playing in a Grand Slam.”
“Regardless of the fact that it is doubles, I will take it. I kept at it. I stayed in the process. Maybe next time, I will play singles too. After years of hard work, it is starting with doubles but singles will happen. It’s first, so special,” she added.
Ankita mentioned initially she didn’t discover her title in the draw and was upset.
“I can’t believe it, I missed my name in the sheet. After practice I asked for the draw and frantically looked for my name. I did not find it. Then my coach called me to say I have made it,” she mentioned.
Ankita had signed up with Romanian southpaw Mihaela, who was a high-50 singles participant earlier than harm pegged her again, on Friday.
They will open their marketing campaign in opposition to Australian wild card pair of Olivia Gadecki and Belinda Woolcock.
“A friend told me that Mihaela is looking for a partner. I spoke to her and she agreed. I have not played with her before but I have played with a lefty on the tour. It make a good combination. I am looking forward to it.”
Now India can have 4 Indians competing in the season’s first Grand Slam.
Sumit Nagal will compete in the boys’s singles whereas Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan will current their problem in the boys’s doubles with their respective companions.
Nagal has drawn Lithiania’s Ricardas Berankis as his first spherical opponent.
Bopanna and his Japanese accomplice Ben McLachlan will tackle Korean wild card entrants Ji Sung Nam and Min-Kyu Song.
Sharan and his Slovakian accomplice Igor Zelenay will tackle German combo of Yannick Hanfmann and Kevin Krawietz.

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