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Sania stuns Petrova

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Sania Mirza overpowered the ninth-ranked fourth seed, Nadia Petrova of Russia 6-2, 6-1 in 54 minutes to move into the third round of the Acura Classic WTA tennis tournament in San Diego.

The victory, her second over a top-10 player, has virtually assured her a top-50 ranking.

The impressive effort in the second round helped Mirza take her points collection from the tournament to 103.5 points, including 43 bonus points for beating Petrova.

"It was a good match. I played really well. She made some unforced errors. We had a game plan and I am glad that I could execute it. Obviously, it was one of my best matches," said the 59th ranked Mirza.

"It gives me a lot of confidence to beat a top-10 player. It is always an aim to be in the top-10 some day. At the moment, it is just one win, and I still have to focus on the next round," said Mirza who will meet Akiko Morigami of Japan in the third round.

"Once again I will try to go out and give my best. I know what I have to do, and what I can do," said Mirza.

Our Sports Reporter from Hyderabad adds:

"After this performance she will be ranked between 47 and 50. That is for sure," said Mirza's father Imran Mirza while speaking to The Hindu here on Thursday morning.

He also said that he had not expected her to reach her first target (of breaking into the top 50) so early this year.

"When she called me up this morning after the win, she told me about the support she received from the enthusiastic crowd," he said.

What was his advice to his daughter? "When Sania called me up before the match, I just told her that Petrova's strongpoint is her serve. Apparently, Sania's own groundstrokes and also perhaps her overall game have improved after the Wimbledon experience," Mr. Mirza explained.

What is the role of John Farrington, her newly-appointed travelling coach? "Well, it is too early to say that the current results are because of him. But the best thing is that now Sania can have a hitting partner before big matches," said Mr. Mirza.

"We are obviously delighted that Sania is all set to break into the top 50. But I think that staying there is more difficult. She should ensure that she doesn't lose the points too quickly before the year-end," he said. "In all probability, Sania should produce something special within the next six months given the accolades she is receiving from the knowledgeable people in the elite circuit," he added.

The results:

At Washington (Legg Mason Classic): Second round: Juan Ignacio Chela bt Brian Baker 6-3, 6-3; Greg Rusedski bt Nathan Healey 7-6(2), 6-2; Paradorn Srichaphan bt Paul Goldstein 6-4, 3-6, 7-5; Robby Ginepri bt Karol Beck 6-3, 6-4; Luis Horna bt Dominik Hrbaty 6-4, 6-7(2), 7-6(4); Arnaud Clement bt Richard Bloomfield 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(7); Gilles Muller bt Nicolas Massu 7-6(2), 6-4; James Blake bt Radek Stepanek 6-4, 2-6, 6-4; Sebastien Grosjean bt Alexander Popp 6-2, 6-3; Tomas Berdych bt Wayne Arthurs 6-4, 4-6, 6-4; Bobby Reynolds bt Ricardo Mello 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.

At Sopot (Idea Prokom Open): Second round: Gael Monfils bt Juan Monaco 6-4, 7-6(5); Igor Andreev bt Razvan Sabau 6-3, 5-1. (retired); Victor Hanescu bt Albert Costa 6-3, 6-4; Guillermo Coria bt Felix Mantilla 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

At San Diego (WTA Acura Classic): Second round: Dinara Safina bt Alina Jidkova 0-6, 6-1, 6-0; Jelena Jankovic bt Hana Sromova 6-3, 6-2; Kim Clijsters bt Marta Domachowska 6-3, 6-1; Patty Schnyder bt Kveta Peschke 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-1; Francesca Schiavone bt Anastassia Rodionova 6-2, 6-2; Nathalie Dechy bt Gisela Dulko 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(3); Mary Pierce bt Anna-Lena Groenefeld 6-1, 6-1; Elena Likhovtseva bt Shahar Peer 1-6, 6-2, 6-4; Sania Mirza bt Nadia Petrova 6-2, 6-1; Mashona Washington bt Vera Zvonareva 6-4, 4-6, 6-4; Sesil Karatancheva bt Lisa Raymond 7-6(6), 6-4; Ai Sugiyama bt Daniela Hantuchova 7-5, 4-6, 6-2.

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