File photo of Ankita Raina.© X (formerly Twitter)
Asian Games bronze-medallist Ankita Raina is the only Indian to have received a direct entry in the upcoming ITF Women’s Open, set to be hosted by the Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association in Bengaluru from January 14. Runner-up from the last edition and ranked 208th in singles, she features in the main draw list that has 20 direct entries, along with four wild cards and eight qualifiers. As for the Indians, there could be as many as nine of them in the singles main draw, with four of them being handed the wild cards for the main draw, while five of them would be playing the qualifiers between January 14-15.
Among the wild-card Indian entries are local talents Soha Sadiq (singles ranking 823) and Suhita Maruri (singles ranking 1,239).
Darja Semenistaja of Latvia, ranked 143rd in the singles, is the highest-ranked competitor in the event.
It will be the third edition of the tournament and will be played under lights for the first time, with the finals set to be played on January 21.
The competition has a prize money of USD 40,000, with the winner also set to receive 50 WTA points.
Speaking on the competition, KSLTA Vice-President and Karnataka’s IT BT & RDPR minister Priyank Kharge said, “The KPB Trust ITF Women’s Open not only celebrates athletic excellence but also serves as a crucial stepping stone for Indian players, who gain a home advantage as they compete on familiar turf.” “The event has played a pivotal role in nurturing local talent, and contributing to the growth of women’s tennis in our nation and creating top-class athletes.” “This event is extremely important for us as it’s one of the few ITF W50 events in the world, and we welcome the sporting ambassadors from 21 countries to come and experience the hospitality of Bengaluru, which is in pursuit of becoming the global sporting destination,” he concluded.
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