Ankita Raina fell short of qualifying for the US Open Singles Main Draw on Friday, losing to Sweden’s Mirjam Bjorklund 6-2 6-2, in a battle that lasted over an hour and a half.
Raina had four break points in Bjorklund’s opening two service games of the second set, and also saved 4 break points at 2-2 before the Swede ran away with the set.
ITD talked to Raina after the match.
ITD: It was a long match for 6-2 6-2. It doesn’t seem like an accurate score in terms of reflecting how competitive the match was. Would you agree with that in terms of how you felt you were in the match?
Ankita Raina: Yeah I mean, I felt that it was very intense. Maybe the score doesn’t show it as much. Of course, because it was the final round, so everyone tries to hold on. You know, there was this game in the second set where I had the chance…
ITD: Three break points
Ankita Raina: Yeah, and I think I had a couple of other chances as well, which I couldn’t convert.
ITD: Yeah, even in that game when she first broke in the second set, you also saved a lot of break points before she broke. You saved four break points before she broke.
Ankita Raina: Yeah, I think that’s tennis. You know, every day is different and you have to bring your best every single day regardless of the result.
ITD: And do you feel like it’s more important to you, sort of, the level that you feel like you were playing out there, rather than the score?
Ankita Raina: Yeah, I’m definitely happy about how I’ve played. I mean, obviously I will not be satisfied and happy with the result, but the level that I’ve played at the past three matches and the matches just last month. Just need to build on that.
ITD: It’s been a long time since there’s been an Indian woman in the singles main draw of a Grand Slam. Did you feel extra pressure knowing that you were one match away?
Ankita Raina: I believe that there’s a bit of nerves and anxiety every match, regardless of what tournament you’re playing. And that’s why I try to do my routine and follow all of that. For these big moments. So, not really.
Like I said the first day you asked me, I’m gonna take it match by match. And that’s how the mindset was.
ITD: And I guess there’s still the possibility of a lucky loser spot. What’s your plan now? Are you just going stick around for a few days?
Ankita Raina: Yeah, I’m going to stay here and practice and be ready. You never know.
Photos from her match: (Credits – Mike Lawrence/USTA)