Sania Mirza and debutant Ankita Raina bowed out of the Tokyo Olympics after a shocking loss to Ukrainian twin sisters Nadiia and Liudmyla Kichenok on Sunday. Mirza and Raina dominated most part of their mixed doubles but a dramatic turnaround by Nadiia and Liudmyla Kichenok saw them get past the Indian pair by 0-6 7-6(0) 10-8 win at court 11 of Ariake Tennis Centre. Sania and Raina were on the verge of a comprehensive win when Sania was serving for the match at 5-3 in the second set but perhaps nerves got better of her and she dropped the serve.
Given a reprieve, the Ukrainian sisters stormed back in the match by winning the second set 7-6. They then dominated the Super Tie break and were leading 8-1 before Sania and Raina reeled off seven straight points to make it 8-8. However, they lost the next two points to conceded the game.
Mirza and Raina won the first set in just 21 minutes. The Kichenok sisters claimed their first game in the second game of the second set as Raina’s backhand return sailed over the baseline. The Indian pair was leading 40-15 in the third set but the Kichenok sisters bounced back to deuce the set. The Indian pair then picked up consecutive points to win the set.
Nadiia’s two double faults put the Ukrainians in trouble but they came out unscathed with some solid net-play, making it 2-2. After a see-saw battle in the second set, Sania got an opportunity to serve for the match. She was trailing 15-30 in the 5th game but pulled off a well-calculated lob to ward off the danger. However, she dropped two consecutive points to hand the Ukrainians their first break. From there on, there was no stopping the Ukrainian sisters.