Sania Mirza to partner with Ankita Raina in women’s doubles at Tokyo Olympics

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Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina

Hyderabad: Ankita Raina will accompany Sania Mirza as the duo is set to represent India in women’s doubles at the Tokyo Olympics, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) confirmed. Sania, who had a protected ranking of World No. 9 gained direct entry to the women’s doubles at the Tokyo Olympics.nia Mirza

Protected rankings allows a female tennis player to maintain her world ranking in case of a lengthy injury lay-off or pregnancy, for three years post-pregnancy or one year from return of competition, whichever is earlier. The protected rankings could also be used to enter the Tokyo Olympics.

Sania, ranked World No. 9 in the women’s doubles before she took a maternity break to give birth to son Izhaan, was since guaranteed a starting slot for the Summer Games. The Hyderabad-born girl was allowed to choose her partner – someone ranked within top-300 in the country – and opted for Ankita (World No.95)

This will be Sania’s fourth Olympics appearance while Ankita is going to make her Summer Games debut. Sania came close to winning an Olympics medal when she reached the 2016 Rio Games semis with Rohan Bopanna but the duo fell to Czech Republic’s Lucie Hradecka and Radek Stepanek in the bronze medal playoff.

Meanwhile, there will be no Indian men’s doubles or mixed doubles representation at the Tokyo Olympics – first time since Barcelona 1992. India could have had a men’s doubles representation but the pair of Bopanna and Divij Sharan missed the cut.

Bopanna (World No. 38) and Sharan (World No. 76)’s combined ranking was not enough to gain them direct entry and they will have to wait for any withdrawals to have any hopes of playing in Tokyo Olympics.

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