Tennis at Tokyo Olympics: Sania Mirza/Ankita Raina victims of a late surge from the Kichenok sisters, bow out in the first round

Indian women's doubles pairing of Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina were knocked out in the first round of Tokyo Olympics despite leading for majority of the match

Sania Mirza/Ankita Raina
Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina

In a rather strange turn of events, Indian pairing of Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina end their Tokyo 2020 campaign in the first round itself, after losing to Ukrainian pairing of the Kichenok sisters– Lyudmyla and Nadiia. The Indians were leading 6-0,5-2 before the Kichenok sisters bounced back and won the match in three sets, 0-6,7-6(0),10-8.

With Sania and Ankita’s exit, all the Indian hopes in tennis will be on Sumit Nagal in the men’s singles. Nagal won his opening round match against Denis Istomin and will now face Russian second seed Daniil Medvedev in the second round.

Mirza and Raina started the match on a very high note. They held their serve and complemented each other’s game well. They were quick to get an early break and consolidated it with a very solid hold of serve. They had found their groove and stormed away the set with a triple break bagel 6-0.

The Indian duo carried momentum into the second set and were on song on serve. They gave the Kichenok sisters no chance on serve and soon managed to take a break’s lead.

An inspired comeback from the Kichenok sisters

Nadiia Kichenok/Lyudmyla Kichenok
Nadiia Kichenok/Lyudmyla Kichenok

They were leading 5-2 in the second set and served for the set at 5-3 but an inspired comeback from the Ukrainians saw them breaking serve and taking the set into a tiebreaker. The Indians had no answer in the tiebreaker as the Kichenok sisters won it without dropping a point to force a super-tiebreaker.

In the super tie-breaker, the Ukrainians carried all the momentum and blasted to a 8-0 lead. It looked all over for the Indians but they too staged a mini-comeback at won 8 points in a row to draw level at 8-8. But eventually, the Kichenok sisters took two points to close out the match.

Also read: Tennis at Tokyo Olympics 2020: Top seed Ash Barty bows out in the first round