Sania Mirza outplayed the second-seeded Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand 6-2, 6-3 in the quarterfinals of women's singles, and India assured itself of two other medals in the men's doubles and mixed doubles, in the Asian Games here on Saturday.
Sania, the runner-up last time, will now meet third-seeded Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan in the semifinals.
Later, the 24-year-old Sania combined with Vishnu Vardhan to win the mixed doubles quarterfinals against the fourth-seeded Chia Jung Chuang and Chu-Huan Yi of Chinese Taipei 2-6, 6-4, 10-4. With Somdev Devvarman and Sanam Singh beating Bai Yan and Zhang Ze of China 6-2, 6-4 in the men's doubles quarterfinals, India is assured of at least three bronze medals.
Coach Enrico Piperno said it did not matter who her opponent was, seeing how Sania has been striking the ball.
“We know how good she can be. Sania is playing great tennis,” he said.
On a roll
Swinging into her strokes with the alacrity and tackling the World No.58 with supreme confidence, the 24-year-old Sania was a delight to watch as she toyed with the seasoned Tanasugarn.
The key to the contest was confidence and fitness. It was the confidence in her ability that saw Sania overcome six breakpoints in a long-drawn first game to hold. It was the physical fitness — despite being on antibiotics for more than a week — that helped Sania dictate the flow of the contest.
She did get broken in the third game, but paid back with a vengeance by racing away with the next five games, breaking Tanasugarn thrice, allowing the Wimbledon quarterfinalist a mere four points in those three games.
Sania herself was serving well; she had four aces in the match. Yet, she did get broken in the first and seventh games of the second set. But she broke back both the times rather easily and closed the match out with an ace out wide from deuce court.
Tanasugarn struggled with her serve mainly because Sania was firing her returns into the corners, putting pressure on the Thai to go for more. She tried to upset Sania's rhythm with moon-balls, but the Indian had the answers for everything that was thrown at her.
“I am playing better with every match,” said Sania.
Devvarman, Rastogi advance
Earlier in the morning, Devvarman and Karan Rastogi played close to perfection in reaching the singles quarterfinals.
The second-seeded Devvarman was ruthless in his 6-1, 6-1 victory over Vaja Uzakov of Uzbekistan.
“He is a dangerous and talented player. I had to focus on little things. I served well and am really happy with my game,” said Devvarman who meets Zhang Ze of China in the quarterfinals.
Rastogi was in a spot of trouble in the second set in his 6-0, 6-4 victory over Ti Chen of Chinese Taipei, but attributed that to a little loose play on his part. He regrouped nicely to win four games in a row to take the match without further worry.
“I knew what to expect and was clear about what to do. I stuck to my game plan. I had belief in my game,” said Rastogi.