Sania beats Shahar; Paes, Bhupathi advance in doubles

March 17th, 2008 - 3:26 pm ICT by admin  

Indian Wells (California), March 17 (IANS) A gritty Sania Mirza battled from a set down to knock out World No. 18 Shahar Peer of Israel and stormed into the fourth round of the Pacific Life Open here. Sania, seeded 21st in the $2.1 million tournament, dropped the first set in a tie-breaker but fought back to snatch a 6-7 (7), 7-5, 6-3 win to maintain her dominance and an all-win record over Shahar. Sania has now won all four of their clashes.

Rounding off a great day for India were doubles specialists Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi playing with different partners in the men’s Masters Series event being held at the same venue.

Eighth-seeds Paes and Paul Hanley (Australia) beat Argentines David Nalbandian and Guillermo Canas 7-5, 2-6, 10-5 to reach the quarterfinals.

Sixth-seeds Mahesh Bhupathi and Mark Knowles of Bahamas, who have already won twice this year, beat Christopher Kas of Germany and Rogier Wassen of Netherlands 6-3, 7-6 in the first round.

Sania will now meet fifth seed Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia in the pre-quarter-finals of the tournament, which is one of the very few outside of the Grand Slams with a 128-draw.

A relieved Sania said that she was expecting a tough fight from Shahar.

“We always play tough matches. I was a bit irritated with myself, because I was fighting but was not able to finish it,” said Sania, ranked 32nd in the world.

“I lost one set point as I sprayed the ball off my backhand. It’s very hard to get your focus back. You have to inspire yourself to fight again.”

Sania said: “This win is a good achievement to be playing and beating these top players because I’m dealing with a lot of things off the court.

“We all go through ups and downs. Sometimes you feel like ‘why do you want to do this’? And sometimes you say ‘I’m going to oppose all the odds and come out of this’.”

After winning their pre-quarters Paes and Hanley will meet third seed Daniel Nestor of Canada and Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia next.

Bhupathi and Knowles will be up against Nikolay Davydenko of Russia and Nicolas Keifer of Germany in the second round and a win will take them into the last eight.

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