Sania makes winning start in Dubai, meets Jankovic next

February 27th, 2008 - 11:57 am ICT by admin  

Dubai, Feb 27 (IANS) Sania Mirza overcame a first set lapse in concentration to pack off qualifier Vera Dushevina of Russia 7-6 (5), 6-2 in the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships Tuesday. Sania will now play Jelena Jankovic in the second round later Wednesday.

Sania also had a winning start in women’s doubles as she partnered Italian Francesca Schiavone and beat wildcards Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia and Amelie Mauresmo of France 6-4, 6-4 at the Dubai Tennis Stadium.

Mirza, who was leading 5-3 at one stage in the first set, allowed the Russian to come back into the game and take the first set into the tiebreaker. But then the Indian stepped up her game and won the tiebreak.

In the second set, Sania gave Dushevina no chance and won 6-2 to wrap up the match.

The tournament’s first big upset came when 2007 Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli of France went down 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-1 to Italian Francesca Schiavone. Bartoli did lead 3-0 and then 4-1 in the second set but was never really convincing.

Sania, always a big favourite with the Dubai crowds, admitted that she lapsed in concentration but the crowds lifted her.

“I knew she would be a tough opponent, more so because this is the first time I am playing against her,” Mirza said. “For me, Dubai is home away from home and it was the crowd who helped me lift my game in the first set.”

Sixth seed Russian Anna Chakvetadze also survived a scare before winning 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 win against qualifier Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland.

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