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 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 $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 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.