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Sania wins first WTA title

By V Subrahmanyam
February 21, 2004 19:20 IST
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Teen sensation Sania Mirza added one more feather to her cap by becoming the first Indian to win a WTA title when she paired with Lizel Huber of South Africa to win the Hyderabad Open doubles title at the LB stadiumĀ at Hyderabad on Saturday.

The Indo-African pair upset third seed Ting Li and Tian Tian Sun of China 7-6 (7/1), 6-4 to win a purse of US $ 6,500 and 95 ranking points. The runners-up went home richer by USD 3,475 and 67 points.

Playing in front of a highly supportive crowd, Sania and Huber raced to a 4-1 lead against the Chinese duo in the first set before they allowed their opponents to crawl back into the match with some unforced errors.

The Chinese pair levelled the score at 5-5 and then broke Sania's serve to take the lead.

However, Huber and Sania recovered very well to force the set into a tiebreaker and then rushed to a 7-1 verdict.

The 17-year-old, who won the Wimbeldon girls doubles championship last year, then grew in confidence and complementated the World no. 11, Huber, very well to take the second set and the title with ease.

"After winning the first set, I was confident of winning the match," Sania told reporters after winning the title.

The local lass, who will be preparing for the next months Standard 12 examination before the Feb Cup, said her stint with Italian coach Bob Brett had improved her game remarkably.

Commenting on the experience of playing alongside theĀ South African, she said "Huber is a better player and joining her to win my first WTA title is a thrilling experience."

Huber was all praise for the local girl and said "she has improved a lot and can play even better."


Doubles finals: Sania Mirza (Ind) and Liezel Huber (RSA) beat Ting Li and Tian Tian Sun(Chi) 7-6 (7-1), 6-4.

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V Subrahmanyam
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