Mirza Wins Ugly but Wins

Posted on February 16, 2007

BANGALORE, India - Three-set matches were the order of the day at the Sony Ericsson International Thursday, with all four second-round singles matches going the distance.

The Top 2 seeds advanced to the quarterfinals by identical 36 75 62 scorelines, with the victory of hometown star Sania Mirza, the No.2 seed, causing the biggest celebrations. Mirza lost the first five games of the match and then nearly let a 5-2 second-set lead slip against Belarusian Tatiana Poutchek, but the 20-year-old Hyderabad resident hung tough.

"It was an ugly match," noted Mirza, a two-time semifinalist already this year. "I couldn't find the court in the first set and I had no business going down 5-0. I think the most important thing is that I found a way to win. I believe that in every week you have a bad day; it's about making sure that you win on those bad days.

"My improved fitness certainly helped, I had plenty of energy in the third set, so that's fantastic."

In the quarterfinals Mirza plays young Russian Yaroslava Shevdova, an upset winner on Wednesday over Thai veteran Tamarine Tanasugarn.

Mirza's doubles partner, top seed and defending champion Mara Santangelo, had an equally dramatic day at the office, trailing 63 30 against Uzbek Akgul Amanmuradova before winning 13 of the next 17 games.

The Italian has been struggling with fatigue this week, having last week reached the singles quarterfinals and winning the doubles title in Pattaya, Thailand.
 
"I really wasn't playing well in the beginning," said Santangelo, who plays Japanese wildcard Yurika Sema for a semifinal berth. "My serve wasn't working and then she was serving very big; I couldn't return them at all.

"At 0-3 in the second I just got a hold of myself, stopped worrying about being tired and started making some shots. I'm so happy to have won that match today."

Australian Alicia Molik failed to take advantage of a strong start, falling 64 46 64 to Ukrainian Olga Savchuk, having led 3-0 in the first set.

"I'm very disappointed with how I played today," said Molik. "I didn't serve well and I had my chances but wasn't aggressive.

When you're the aggressive player out there you expect to be the one making the shots, but that wasn't me today. She played well, but I really felt that I lost the match, making too many errors."

For 19-year-old Savchuk, this will be her first Tour quarterfinal in exactly a year, having reached the last eight 12 months ago at the Proximus Diamond Games in Antwerp, which is also being held this week.

"I'm really happy to reach the quarterfinals here, as last year I made them in Antwerp, so it means I can defend my points," said Savchuk, who meets No.4 seed Jelena Kostanic Tosic in the quarterfinals. "Alicia didn't play her best tennis tonight, but I'm happy that I fought hard for every point. I didn't focus on the score or winning or losing, just making the shots and that worked for me here."

Earlier in the day Hungarian Melinda Czink, a 46 76(2) 75 was winner over Chinese Taipei's Hsieh Su-Wei and will take on fellow non-seed, Israel's Tzipora Obziler. (WTA)