Ankita, Sole Indian To Receive Direct Entry for ITF Women’s Open

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Updated On: 12 Jan 2024

Ankita, Sole Indian To Receive Direct Entry for ITF Women’s Open

Indian Tennis player and bronze medal holder in the Asian Games, Ankita Raina is the only Indian to receive a direct entry in the upcoming ITF Women’s Open. She will be granted this prestigious opportunity and the competition is all set to be hosted by the Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association in Bengaluru, starting from January 14. Ankita Raina is ranked 208th in singles and is the runner-up from the last edition. She features among the 20 direct entries from the main draw list that includes eight qualifiers and our wild cards players. Coming to the Indians, there is a possibility of having nine people in the singles while drawing from the main draw, with four being handed the wild cards for the main draw while the rest will be competing in the qualifiers held between January 14th and 15th.

The wild-card Indian entries include local talents Suhita Maruri and Soha Sadiq who are ranked 1,239 and 823 in the singles respectively. The highest-ranked competitor of the ITF Women’s Open event in Bengaluru is Darja Semenistaja Latvia, whose ranking is 143 in singles. This event will be the third edition of the tournament and is expected to be played under the lights for the first time. The final set of this competition is set to take place on January 21. The winning prize money of this event is approximately USD 40,000 and the winner of the competition will also receive 50 WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) points. 

Talking and sharing thoughts about the upcoming competition, KSLTA Vice-President and Karnataka’s ITBT & RDPR minister Priyank Kharge said that this event does not just celebrate athletic excellence but also serves as a means of stepping stones for Indian tennis players out there. These players get a home advantage as they compete on familiar turf. Furthermore, he stated how this event has served a significant role in fostering local talent, promoting the growth of women’s tennis in India, and bringing up top-class athletes. The event is termed extremely important for most people out there as this competition is one of the few ITF W50 events occurring around the world. 

In addition to this, Priyank concluded his talk by saying that all the 21 sporting ambassadors from around the world are welcome here to come and experience the hospitality of Bengaluru city. The city is currently aiming to be a global sporting destination. 

About ITF Women’s Open

ITF Women’s Open is a building block or developmental block for the WTA Tour (Women’s Tennis Association Tour), which is run by the independent Women’s Tennis Association. There are plenty of ITF Women’s Circuit tournaments every year spread across all inhabited continents. The prize money for these events taking place ranges from USD 15,000 to USD 100,000. Winners of these events also earn sufficient points for them to qualify for the qualifying draw or main entry to WTA tournaments. 

Back in 2011, ITF Women’s Circuit was just a level below the main WTA tour, but later on in 2012, the WTA placed an intermediate level called the WTA 125 tournaments. There is also an ITF Men’s Circuit, but it only incorporates the lower-level Futures tournaments. Mid-level men’s tournaments, equivalent to the WTA 125 tournaments and the bigger money events on the ITF Women’s Circuit, come under the aegis of the ATP as part of the ATP Challenger Tour.

Reforms were introduced in 2019 to the circuit, renaming it as ITF World Tennis Tour, for former Pro Circuit and Junior Circuit tournaments and will serve as the player pathway between the junior game and the senior game of professional tennis. 

About Ankita Raina

Born on 11 January 1993, Ankita Ravinderkrishan Raina is an Indian professional tennis player. Since 2018, she has taken the lead in the Indian contingent in both singles and doubles. She is a resident of Pune, Maharashtra. Raina has won one title on the WTA Tour and one at WTA 125 tournaments in the doubles category. In addition to this, she has added 11 singles and 25 doubles titles to her tennis career on the ITF Circuit. She made her entry into the top 200 in the singles category in 2018, April. She became the fifth Indian to represent to reach this milestone. 

Apart from this, Ankita has also won gold medals in the women’s singles and mixed-doubles events at the 2016 South Asian Games, and a bronze medal at the 2018 Asian Games. Raina is among the two women representing India who have won a WTA Tour-level title. Raina has a win-to-loss record of 30-24, playing for the Indian Federation Cup Team. She has notable wins over 2011 US Open champion Samantha Stosur, Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki, former world No. 5 Sara Errani, and multiple doubles grand slam winner Barbora Strýcová. 

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