Sania Mirza silenced the Chinese spectators at court No. 1 with her strong game as she outclassed sixth-seeded Shuai Zhang 6-2, 6-2 in the pre-quarterfinals of women's singles in tennis, in the Asian Games here on Friday.
Serving well, swinging into her strokes with ease and stroking the ball with authority on either flank, Sania handled the tricky Chinese girl who had beaten her in the last meeting, with efficiency.
Sania did drop her serve three times, but was playing so well that she did not have to worry about it much. She broke the Chinese seven times, and was able to turn the match around despite being broken in the first game of the second set.
There was a lot of fight from the Chinese, who was perhaps hampered by a heavily taped and strapped left thigh. She did stay on par at 2-2 in the second set, but Sania lifted her game to race away with the next four, saving two breakpoints on her serve in the seventh, and wound up the show with a down-the-line forehand.
Sania will play World No. 58 Tamarine Tanasugarn in the quarterfinals on centre-court.
There was another fine exhibition by Sania, as she and Vishnu Vardhan rose to the occasion to record a 6-3, 4-6, 12-10 victory over Bai Yan and Shengnan Sun of China.
The Indian duo will next meet fourth-seeded Chia-Jung Chuang and Chu-Huan Yi of Chinese Taipei.
The other mixed doubles combination of Sanam Singh and Rushmi Chakravarthi went down fighting to Hiroki Kondo and Yurika Sema of Japan 4-6, 6-3, 3-10 in the pre-quarterfinals.
In men's singles, second-seeded Somdev Devvarman and seventh-seeded Karan Rastogi reached the pre-quarterfinals without dropping a game against players from Qatar and Turkmenistan respectively.
Devvarman will meet Vaja Uzakov of Uzbekistan in the pre-quarterfinals and Rastogi will be up against Ti Chen of Chinese Taipei.
Devvarman and Sanam Singh won the men's doubles pre-quarterfinals 6-4, 6-2 against Johnny Arcilla and Ruben Gonzales Jr. of Philippines but Rastogi and Vardhan lost 6-1, 3-6, 2-10 to Young Jun Kim and Jae Min Seol of Korea.
In men's doubles, the top-seeded Ratiwatana twins, Sanchai and Sonchat went down in the pre-quarterfinals 6-4, 5-7, 9-11 to Liang Chi Huang and Ti Chen of Chinese Taipei.
In women's doubles, Tara Iyer and Nirupama Sanjeev played very well but were unable to capitalise on their chances and lost 4-6, 5-7 to Shuai Zhang and Shengnan Sun in the pre-quarterfinals.