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Goal is to qualify for main draw of French Open: Ankita Raina

Ankita Raina can never forget the 2018 French Open.

As she walked through the gates of the hallowed Roland Garros, there was a sense of living the dream. It was her first ever experience of being in a Grand Slam after she had made the cut for the qualifiers in Paris last year.

“A maiden Grand Slam is always special, and those were memories that I will cherish throughout my life,” Ankita told.

India’s highest-ranked women’s singles tennis player – currently at 171 – is back at the Roland Garros, where will she open her qualifying campaign on Tuesday against 15-year-old Cori Gauff who won the girls singles title last year.

This time, though, Ankita wants to take home something more than just happy memories. “Last year, it was my first Grand Slam and so naturally, I was excited. Playing a Grand Slam was always my dream, so being here again feels good. But now, my goal is to qualify for the main draw,” Ankita said from Paris.

The 26-year-old lost in the first round of qualifying last year, going down to the experienced and higher-ranked Russian Evgeniya Rodina in straight sets despite leading 5-2 in the second set.