Sania falters at Pattaya Open final (Lead)

February 15th, 2009 - 7:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Pattaya, Feb 15 (IANS) India’s Sania Mirza gave World no.5 and top seed Vera Zvonareva some tense moments but made far too many errors to lose the $220,000 Pattaya Open tennis final 5-7, 1-6 here Sunday.

An Australian Open semi-finalist, Zvonareva, was pushed against the wall by the Indian who broke her in the third game of the match.

Zvonareva, soon recovered to take a 5-2 lead. In fact, the Russian had not lost more than four games en route the final but Sania, ranked 126th, put an end to her streak and with big forehand returns reeled off three games in a row, to level 5-5.

But that was all. The Russian took complete control from there on and a backhand error by Sania gave Zvonareva her third break and a long drawn first set.

The Russian was in full force in the second set and with solid ground strokes sent an erring Sania packing to win her first title of the season. It was Zvonareva’s eighth WTA title.

“I tried my best. She played better. Hopefully I’ll be back next year,” said Sania, who played her fourth WTA final and now holds a 1-3 record. It was also her first final since 2007 Standford Open.

The loss had levelled Sania 1-1 with Zvonareva, whom she beat in Japan Open in 2005.

Sania who had entered the tournament unseeded upset sixth seed local favourite Tamarine Tanasugarn and eighth-seeded Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia to reach the summit clash.

Once ranked 27th in the world, Sania’s rankings fell after a chronic wrist injury sidelined her for a large part last year. It was her second tournament since 2008 Beijing Olympics after winning the Australian Open mixed doubles title with compatriot Mahesh Bhupathi last month.

The title win has earned Zvonareva $37,000 and 280 (WTA points) while Sania fetched $19,000 and 200 WTA points which will also boost her ranking.

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