Sunday, February 15, 2009

Vera Zvonareva stops Sania's victory march

Sania Mirza's quest for her second WTA singles title continued after the Indian ace went down fighting 5-7, 1-6 against world No 5 and top seed Vera Zvonareva in the final of the $220,000 Pattaya Open in Thailand on Sunday.

Sania fought her heart out against her formidable opponent but the Russian drew from her vast experience to halt the India's brilliant run in the one hour and 17 minutes contest.

The first set was fiercely fought and both the players traded many a breaks but unforced errors in pressure situations did Sania in.

Once she lost the first set, and squandered the chance to break Zvonareva in the opening game of the second set, Sania was all but out of the match.

Nevertheless, Sania's sizzling run in the event will boost her confidence and give a fillip to her plummeting WTA ranking which is currently 126th.

Sania could have got an early lead at the start of the match as she had two break points in the opening game but squandered both.

Sania then broke Zvonareva in the third game but the Russian did not allow Sania to run away with the lead as she fought back and broke the Indian in the very next game.

After trading breaks in the ninth and 10th games, Zvonareva held her serve in the 11th to make it 6-5.

It was imperative for Sania to win the next game and stretch the set to a tie-breaker but the Russian pounced on the second breakpoint to wrap it up in her favour.

Sania made a good start to the second set, earning a breakpoint in the opening game but Zvonareva warded off the danger.

The first three games went with serve before Zvonareva converted a breakpoint in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead and consolidated it further by holding her serve in the next game.

Trailing 1-4, a comeback looked difficult for the Indian. The Russian broke Sania once more and then held her serve to claim the title.

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