Ankita Raina progresses to Phillip Island doubles final 

The Indian tennis player, with Russian partner Kamilla Rakhimova, made it to the finals even after losing the first set

By Samrat Chakraborty ·

Ankita Raina along with her partner Kamilla Rakhimova booked a place in the finals of the Phillip Island WTA event in Melbourne after beating Francesca Jones and Nadia Podoroska at the 1573 Arena in Melbourne on Thursday.

The Indo-Russian duo fought back from a set deficit win 4-6, 6-4, 11-9 in the semifinal of the WTA event at Melbourne Park.

Jones and Podoroska, who reached the semifinal of the French Open women's singles last year, converted two of their four break points in the first set to go ahead.

However, Raina and Rakhimova reversed the trend in the second set, winning it by a 6-4 margin to level the scores against their British-Argentine opponents.

In the deciding tiebreak, Raina and Rakhimova got the vital edge.

On matchpoint at 10-9, Raina had to repel Podoroska with a reflex volley at the net.

Forcing her to the back of the court, the Argentine player then slugged it out with Raina's partner Rakihmova before sending an attempted cross court forehand into the net.

Raina's reaction was initially one of surprise - holding her hands to her head, scarcely believing that she had clinched victory after a hard fought hour and 52 minutes on court.

In the final, they will lock horns against Russian pair Anna Blinkova and Anastasia Potapova. Blinkova is currently ranked 47 in the world in doubles, while the latter stands at 111.

In the semi-finals, they beat Makoto Ninomiya of Japan and Yafan Wang of China in straight sets with a scoreline of 6-4, 6-3.

Raina and Rakhimova will be in for a tough challenge in the final as their opponents have been in fine form and have reached the finals without dropping a set. Moreover, they are significantly higher ranked than Raina (115) and her partner (192).

The finals will be played on Friday morning at 7:30 am IST.