The Sania Mirza-Ankita Raina combine bit the dust in the first round of the women’s doubles at the Tokyo Games on Sunday, losing to Ukraine’s Nadiia Kichenok and Lydumyla Kichenok 6-0, 6-7 (0), [8-10].
After a blistering first set, Sania served for the match in the second, but was broken in the ninth game and the tide duly turned. In the super tie-breaker, Sania and Ankita were on the ropes down 0-8. However, they mounted a fightback to level things at 8-8, only to lose the last two points and with that the match.
The result leaves only Sumit Nagal in the competition in Tokyo and India will be hoping against hope that the Sania-Nagal combine makes it to the mixed doubles draw, which is set to be announced on Tuesday.
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Elsewhere, there was a stunning opening round loss for World No.1 and Wimbledon champion Ash Barty against Sara Sorribes-Tormo of Spain, 4-6, 3-6. But the home favourites in Naomi Osaka and Kei Nishikori progressed, recording impressive victories over Saisai Zheng and Andrey Rublev respectively.
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The likes of Stefanos Tsitsipas, Garbine Muguruza, Karolina Pliskova, Alexander Zverev and Petra Kvitova made winning starts to their singles campaigns. But two-time gold medallist Andy Murray decided to withdraw from singles and decided to concentrate on the men’s doubles tournament alongside Joe Salisbury.