Sania goes down to Petrova at the Australian Open (Roundup)

January 21st, 2009 - 9:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, Jan 21 (IANS) Sania Mirza’s run in the Australian Open singles was cut short by the Russian 10th seed Nadia Petrova who outclassed the Indian 6-3, 6-2, here Wednesday. The Indian, making a comeback after being out of tennis for six months with a wrist injury, failed to take advantage of the opportunities that came her way. Sania could have broken the Russian’s serve more than once in the two sets, but could not convert any of the three breakpoints she had.

Sania’s serve also let her down, she could not hit her first serve consistently. The Russian, on the other hand aced the Indian seven times, breaking her thrice during the 70 minute match.

Petrova,a quarterfinalist here in 2006, snared Sania’s serve in the fourth game of the first set.

The Russian, who has been on the circuit for a decade, got another chance in the eighth game but the 22-year-old Hyderabadi did well to stave it off. Petrova then served out the set with a blazing backhand winner.

In the second set Petrova, World No.11, was in complete control. A combination of four aces, five points won at the net and three forehand winners saw her easily clinch the set and match.

The loss has not dampened the Hyderabadi’s spirits who is looking forward to partnering American Vania King in the doubles and teaming up in the mixed doubles with compatriot Mahesh Bhupathi.

“I’m just happy to be back and doing what I love doing, playing tennis and competing,” Sania,ranked 108, said. “There was a big crowd out there and I haven’t played in front of such a gathering for six months.

“Of course I’m disappointed at losing, but I can take some positives from this.”

“I will try and get into the top 30, but the last five or six months have taught me to live for the moment so I don’t want to think ahead.”

Sania said she lost to a better player.

“When you’re playing the world number 10 you expect her to raise her game under pressure and that is exactly what Petrova did.

“I played a decent match but I still have a lot to work on. There are no excuses. I could blame it on a lack of match practice, playing the world number 10. I had a sore stomach as well. But I could not have asked for a better start after coming from an injury.”

Sania and Petrova before Wednesday had met twice. While Sania beat her in 2005 in San Diego, Petrova settled the score at Wimbledon in 2007.

Petrova in the third round will play Kazakhstan’s Galina Voskoboeva, who won 6-4, 6-1, against Italian Karin Knapp.

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