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Rediff.com  » Sports » Sania conquers Washington

Sania conquers Washington

August 30, 2005 02:31 IST
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Sania Mirza got off to a winning start in her first appearance at the US Open, beating Mashona Washington of the United States in a hard-fought contest at the Grandstand in New York, on Monday afternoon.

The Indian ace, ranked 42nd in the world, clinched a 7-6, 6-7, 6-4 victory after 2 hours and 12 minutes.

Also read: Kuznetsova ousted in first round

Sania got off to a flying start as she broke her American opponent in the first game of the match, but couldn't capitalise on the advantage. Washington grabbed back the break in the fourth game as Sania double-faulted.

The break seemed to have given the 29-year-old some momentum as she broke again in the sixth to lead 4-2. However, Sania displayed some great fighting spirit in the ninth game to break back and reduce the deficit before holding. Both players then held service as the set went into the tie-breaker.

It was Washington yet again who gained the initiative in the tie-break as she had two set points, but the 18-year-old Indian thwarted both and went on to win the tie-breaker 8-6 and take the first set.

With the first set in her kitty, Sania played more confidently in the second set. She effected a crucial break in the fourth game as Washington double-faulted to take a commanding 3-1 lead.

But then she gifted her opponent three break-points, and committed her fifth double fault, to hand back the break to Washington. Sania's confidence seemed to deserted her mid-way through the second set as she lost eight points in a row allowing Washington to level at 3-3.

The American then broke to take a 5-3 lead, but then suffered a bout of nerves while serving for the set at 5-4. Sania took  advantage to level the set at 5-5 which drifted into the tie-breaker as casual errors crept in from both players.

Washington levelled the match, winning the tie-breaker 8-6.

With both players tiring, quality play was at a discount in the third set. Sania broke in the first game, but was then broken in the sixth as the match once again was in the balance at 3-3. With so many unforced errors, it became difficult to guess a winner at this stage.

But Mirza regained her composure to take an important break in the ninth game and establish a 5-4 lead. She saved a few break-points in the tenth to win the set 6-4 and wrap the match.

Sania will face Maria Elena Camerin, who shocked 21st seed Dinara Safina 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 in another first round match.

The match was not of the highest quality, with Sania and Washington committing 45 and 52 errors respectively.

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