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Asian Games Tennis: Raina settles for bronze, Bopanna-Sharan in final

Last updated on: August 23, 2018 20:03 IST

Ankita Raina

IMAGE: Ankita Raina was beaten by China's World No. 34 Shuai Zhang in the quarter-finals. Photograph: PTI

Ankita Raina played her heart out against top seed Shuai Zhang before settling for bronze, while Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan used all their experience to bounce back and enter the men's doubles final of the Asian Games, in Palembang, on Thursday.


Another medal was assured when world number 161 Prajnesh Gunneswaran outlasted 273rd ranked Kwon Soonwoo of South Korea 6-7 (2 ), 6-4, 7-6 (8) in a marathon quarter-final lasting almost four hours.

Earlier, against the World No. 34 from China and a Grand Slam quarter-finalist, 189th ranked Raina went for her shots, leaving her seasoned opponent surprised.

The spirited Indian, who agreed to playing all three events, eventually lost 4-6, 6-7 (6) in the semi-final lasting 131 minutes.

The gruelling second set alone lasted 77 minutes. After this effort, she became India's second women's singles medallist at the Asian Games after Sania Mirza, who had won a silver in the 2006 Doha edition, followed by a bronze in 2010 Guangzhou.

"She played very well today. It was a tough match. If she keeps on playing this, she can get into the top-100 and may be even top-50," Zhang, who reached the 2016 Australian Open quarter-finals, was generous in her praise.

In the match, however, the Chinese was ruthless. She did not hide her anger when Raina took a time-out while trailing 4-5 in the opening set. Zhuang was also unhappy with a couple of line calls.

"May be she was tired and needed rest. It happens all the times (players use time-out). And I wanted to get on with the tennis," said the 29-year-old from Tianjin.

IMAGE: Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan used all their experience to bounce back and enter the men's doubles final of the Asian Games. Photograph: PTI

Raina was expectedly disappointed at the result.

"I came here to win gold. Hopefully, I can do that in the mixed doubles (with Bopanna). It was a tough match and I could have won. She is obviously an experienced player but I thought I could beat her," Raina, soaking in the sweat, said.

While Raina was playing on center court, Bopanna and Sharan were fighting it out on court one against the Japanese pairing of Shimbakuro S and Uesugi Kaito.

The Japanese played well and got very close to causing the biggest upset in the draw.

Having lost the first set 4-6, Bopanna and Sharan had to try something different and they switched sides.

"We had to change the strategy. They were playing really well. They were taken aback when we switched sides. They did not see it coming. And all that experience of playing on the tour also helped. It was a close match and in the super tier-break it could have gone either way," said Bopanna.

Bopanna said there is a possibility that they both might play together on the ATP circuit.

"Why not? But right now we have a settled pairing with our respective partners. But it is something we can definitely look at in the future. I have known Divij for a long time and we get along really well," added Bopanna.

Bopanna and Raina, however, lost to their mixed doubles quarterfinal match against the Indonesian duo of Christopher Benjamin Rungkat and Aldila Sutjiadi 4-6, 6-1, 6-10.

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