Sania-Ankita Face Ukranian Pair in Round 1, Tough Draw for Nagal
Sumit Nagal was handed a berth for the Tokyo Olympics on 16 July after mass withdrawals.
The Indian tennis contingent have their task cut out in the quest for a medal at the Tokyo Olympics, especially Sumit Nagal. India's women's doubles pairing of Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina, too have a tough task on their hands.
Nagal, who was handed a berth in the men’s singles event draw on 16 July, will face off against seasoned player, Denis Istomin and if he does manage to upset the former World No 33 player from Uzbekistan. If Nagal can get past the first round, his next opponent is likely to be Russia's World No 2 Daniil Medvedev.
The 23-year-old’s win-loss record of 13-13 since reaching the quarterfinals at the Buenos Aires ATP 250 in March is far from ideal. In fact, if Nagal does manage to win his first game, he will become the first Indian to win a singles match at the Olympics since Leander Paes in 1996.
Over in the women’s doubles draw, veteran Sania Mirza and young Ankita Raina will clash with the Ukrainian pair of Lyudmyla Kichenok and Nadiia Kichenok in the first round.
This is Sania Mirza’s fourth Olympic Games and will become the first female athlete from India to achieve this feat. However, in 2021, she has played just 8 women’s doubles games and the lack of match practice will be a concern for the 6-time Grand Slam winner.
Sania and Ankita last played in the Group I Asia-Oceania Billie Jean King Cup round robin in March 2020 where the duo won all 3 matches.
The first-round ties were revealed precisely 48 hours before players will take to the court for the opening action at Ariake Tennis Park, which begins at 11:00 local time on Saturday, 24 July.
In the mixed doubles, Sania and Nagal can team up but it will be difficult for them to make the draw due to a low combined ranking of 153.
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