Ankita Raina off to winning start at Phillip Island WTA event

The 28-year-old came from a set down to beat Elisabetta Cocciaretto 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 in the Round of 64 contest

By Samrat Chakraborty ·

Ankita Raina, who made her Grand Slam main draw debut at the Australian Open, got off to a winning start at the Phillip Island Trophy WTA event on Sunday.

The 28-year-old came from behind to beat her Italian rival Elisaetta Cocciaretto 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 in the women's singles round of 64 contest on Court 10.

The Italian held her nerve in a closely fought first set to get the better of Raina. The Ahmedabad-based player, however, came back strongly to win the next two sets and clinch the contest in just over two hours on court.

Raina won 63 per cent of the points on her first serve while Cocciaretto had 53. It was the Indian who made life uncomfortable for her 20-year-old rival on her serve. Raina earned 24 break points through the match, converting eight of them to win it in three.

Raina will next take on Australian Kimberly Birrell in the Round of 32 contest on Monday. Birrell has, thus far, clinched two ITF Women's Circuit singles and one doubles titles. She achieved her best singles ranking of world number 157 in January 2019. It may be a good chance for the Indian to win two WTA matches in a row for the first time in her career.

In doubles, Raina, who has paired up with Russia's Kamilla Rahimova will begin her campaign, against the Romanian pair of Patricia Maria Țig and Mihaela Buzarnescu on Monday as well.

Raina had teamed up with Buzarnescu at the women's doubles event at the Australian Open. The duo were outplayed by the local favourites of Belinda Woolcok and Olivia Gadecki 3-6, 0-6 in the opening round.