India number one Ankita Raina fought back doggedly to subdue long-time rival Rutuja Bhosale in three sets and move into the second round of the L and T Mumbai Open tennis championship here on Wednesday.
Direct entrant Ankita, ranked 197, overcame Rutuja, ranked 366, 4-6, 6-2 7-6 (5) in 2 hours and 17 minutes in a late night match after she trailed 0-3 in the final set by dropping her serve twice before restoring parity at 4-4.
Ankita, the lone Indian remaining in the singles draw, will now meet Danka Kovinic of Montenegro, conqueror of fourth seed Olga Danilovic, in the round of 16 tomorrow in the USD 125,000 WTA event.
It was the seventh meeting between the two Indian women on the professional circuit going back to 2012 with Ankita leading 4-2 going into the match at the Cricket Club of India.
Rutuja and Ankita split the first two sets before the former took an early 3-0 lead by breaking her rival twice. But Ankita, a quarterfinalist here last year, hit back to retrieve the two service breaks before the set went into the tie-break which was won by the India number one.
(With inputs from agencies.)