It was a mixed day for Indian tennis. India are assured of medals in men’s doubles, but both of India’s leading players in the singles category crashed out, making it the first time since 2006 that Indian singles players will return without a medal from the Asian Games.
India’s men’s doubles pair of Saketh Myneni and Ramkumar Ramanathan secured a spot in the semi-finals, guaranteeing India its first tennis medal at the Asian Games. They secured a 6-1, 7-6 victory in their quarter-final encounter.
The Indian duo will be up against the South Korean pair of Seongchan Hong and Soonwoo Kwon in the semi-final.
First time since 2006 that Indian singles tennis players will return empty-handed from the Asian Games
While the men’s doubles team secured a win, India’s singles players, Sumit Nagal and Ankita Raina, faced formidable opponents in the quarterfinals and saw their dreams of a medal come to an end.
Sumit Nagal, who had shown immense promise in the tournament, played valiantly against top seed and home favourite Zhizhen Zhang from China. Despite taking a set off the world number 60, Nagal eventually succumbed 7-6(3), 1-6, 2-6 in a grueling match that lasted two hours and sixteen minutes.
Ankita Raina, the bronze medalist from the previous edition of the Asian Games, put up a fight against Japan’s Haruka Raji. But the two hours and fifty-three minute contest saw Raina narrowly miss out on a spot in the semi-finals, losing 6-3, 4-6, 4-6.
Ankita Raina wasn’t done yet, as she also featured in the mixed doubles category alongside Yuki Bhambri. The Indian pair faced a strong challenge from Alex Eala and Francis Casey Alcantara. Raina and Bhambri managed to take their opponents to the third set but just fell short in a thrilling encounter that lasted an hour and fifty-two minutes, eventually losing 4-6, 6-4, 8-10.
However, there was some good news from the other mixed doubles pair. Rutuja Bhosale and Rohan Bopanna registered an impressive win in the round of 16, defeating the Japanese pair of Ayano Shimizu and Shinji Hazawa 6-3, 6-4. This sets the stage for an exciting quarter-final clash on September 28.
Edited by Luke Koshi