Tennis: Ankita Raina settles for bronze

Palembang: Indian tennis player Ankita Raina settled for a bronze medal at the Asian Games after losing to China’s Zhang Shuai in the women’s singles semifinal here today.

Ankita lost 4-6, 6-7 (6) in a gruelling contest that lasted a little over two hours. India’s best women’s singles performance in the Games came from Saina Mirza, who notched up a silver in the 2006 edition in Doha, followed by a bronze by her in 2010, Guangzhou.

With today’s bronze, the 25-year-old Ankita became only the second Indian woman to have her name in the Asian Games’ singles medallists list. Both the losing semifinalists are entitled to a bronze each in the Games.

Virdhawal Khade and Srihari Natraj created new national records to qualify for the finals of the 50m butterfly and 200m backstroke events at the Asian Games, here today.

Khade clocked 24.09sec to top Heat 2 and was placed fifth overall. The effort was better than his own nine-year old national record which was set with a time of 24.14 at the Asian Championship at Foshan, China in 2009.

Khade has created two national records at this edition of the Games as he had bettered his own mark in the men’s 50m freestyle – the event in which he narrowly missed a bronze.

In 200m backstroke event, Natraj moved to the final by improving upon his own national mark with a timing of 2:02.97 which placed him seventh overall. It was better than his previous 2:03.17 mark.