Tokyo: The Indian pair of Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina were knocked out in the first round of the women’s doubles event at the Tokyo Olympics.
Sania and Ankita lost to the Kichenok twins of Ukraine — Lyudmyla and Nadiia — 0-6, 7-6(0) 10-8 — at the Ariake Tennis Park on Sunday, bringing an early end to their campaign. Sania and Ankita were in firm control of the match midway but allowed the Ukrainians to make a comeback and, eventually, run away with the match.
The Indian pair had won the first set 6-0 in 21 minutes, giving no room to the sisters for breaking in. Sania and Ankita were leading 5-3 in the second set before a twist in the script arrived. The Ukrainians roared back by breaking Sania, who was serving and took the set to a tie-break, which they impressively won 7-0, forcing a decider in the third set.
In the super tie-breaker, Sania and Ankita seemed to be sensationally faltering as they found themselves 0-8 down. But the Indian duo fought back to level the scores at 8-8.
The Kichenok twins prevented Sania and Ankita from running away with the match. The sisters secured the last two decisive points to take the super tie-breaker 10-8. With this, the match too was won.
With Sania and Ankita’s premature exit, Sumit Nagal is the lone tennis hope for India now at the Tokyo Olympics. Nagal is set to face world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev of ROC in the second round after defeating Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin in the first round.