Ankita Raina - File Photo
Ankita Raina bowed out of the Mumbai Open after she went down fighting to France's Amandine Hesse in straight sets in the singles quarter-finals to signal the end of India's challenge in the USD 1,25,000 L&T Mumbai Open.
Ankita, the world no. 293, fought tooth and nail against the higher ranked (265) Hesse but succumbed after a protracted battle that lasted 1 hour, 48 minutes with the French woman winning 6-3, 7-6 (4).
Hesse would meet top seed Aryna Sabalenka, ranked 96, in the semi-final following the latter's 6-4, 6-2 victory over the fifth-seeded Naomi Broady of Britain.
Earlier, Uzbekistan's unheralded Sabina Sharipova caused a major upset by rallying from a set behind to oust third seed Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium and enter the semis.
Sharipova, ranked 196 and four inches shorter than her six-foot tall rival who is a former world no. 12 player, won the one hour, 56-minute match 3-6 6-4 6-2 to earn a shot at Slovenia's Dalila Jakupovic in the semi-finals of the WTA series event.
Jakupovic beat back the challenge of qualifier Alize Zim of France in straight sets, 6-3 6-1 in just under an hour in an earlier quarter-final at the Cricket Club of India's courts.
The match between Ankita and Hesse saw both the women hitting with power from the baseline.
Ankita had an early break in both sets but could not capitalise on it as she was broken back immediately. The Indian was broken thrice in the first set that lasted 42 minutes and the two women traded breaks from 1-1 till the score was 4-all in the second set before Hesse managed to hold her serve.
With Ankita also managing to hold her serve in the next game before both women held serves again, tie breaker was enforced at 6-all in which Hesse took the lead with a mini break after 3-all.
The mini break was retrieved by Ankita but thereafter she fell behind 4-6 to give Hesse two match-points and the French woman finally clinched the set and the match when Ankita hit her forehand wide.
Earlier, Sharipova easily lost the opening set against her 115th-ranked Belgian rival but picked up the threads and created a huge upset.
After winning the second set to restore parity, Sharipova traded breaks with her rival in the first two games of the decider before breaking her rival?s serve in the third to go 2-1 up.
The 23-year-old Uzbek player had to save two break- points in the next game to hold her serve for a 3-1 lead and then broke Wickmeyer?s serve again to take a 5-2 lead.
She held her serve comfortably to come out a deserving winner against the 28-year-old Belgian who was a top-30 player for four years running between 2009 and 2012 and a semi- finalist at the US Open in 2009.
Meanwhile, India's lukewarm challenge in the doubles came to an end when Karman Thandi and Pranjala Yadlapalli went down in straight sets to second seeds Dalila Jakupovic of Slovenia and Irina Khromacheva of Russia late last night.
Results: Singles (Quarter finals): Dalila Jakupovic (SLO) bt Q-Alize Lim (FRA) 6-3 6-1; Sabina Sharipova (UZB) bt 3-Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) 3-6, 6-4, 6-2; Amandine Hesse (FRA) bt Ankita Raina (IND) 6-3, 7-6(4).
Doubles (quarter-finals): 2-Dalila Jakupovic (SLO)/Irina Khromacheva (RUS) bt Karman Thandi/Pranjala Yadlapalli (IND) 6-4, 6-2; 4-Julia Glushko (ISR)/Priscilla Hon (AUS) bt Junri Namigata (JPN)/Peangtarn Plipuech (THA) 7-6(5), 6-3; Q-Beatrice Gumulya (INA)/Ana Veselinovic (MNE) bt 1-Oksana Kalashnikova (GEO)/Veronika Kudermetova (RUS) 6-0, 6-1;
Victoria Rodriguez (MEX)/Bibiane Schoofs (NED) bt Eva Wacanno (NED)/Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) 6-4, 7-6(4).