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Sania delights her fans

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ADULATION: Sania Mirza signing autographs after winning in the doubles category of the WTA Bangalore Open Tennis Championship on Sunday. Photo: K. Bhagya Prakash
ADULATION: Sania Mirza signing autographs after winning in the doubles category of the WTA Bangalore Open Tennis Championship on Sunday. Photo: K. Bhagya Prakash

Special Correspondent

Russian challengers outplayed by India-South Africa pair

Bangalore: Sania Mirza brought back smiles on the faces of her countless fans when she partnered Liezelhuber of South Africa to win the doubles title in the WTA Bangalore Open Tennis Championship at the KSLTA Stadium on Sunday. On a nippy night, Sania produced her vintage game to the delight of her screaming fans who packed every inch of the stadium. All the stands were dotted with placards hailing the champion who did not let her fans down.

The Indo-South African pair totally outplayed their Russian challengers Anasthassia Rodionova and Elena Vesnina.

Santangelo wins

For a climax, it was a bit anti-climactic. A three-hour energy sapping contest saw Italian Mara Santangelo stay on her feet to complete a marathon three-set triumph over Jelena Kostanic of Croatia and claim the singles crown.

A Sunday crowd packed the stadium, more in anticipation of the doubles final that featured Sania Mirza. The fans were treated to some clinical display by the finalists, who slugged it out on the centre court. Often the pace was slow, but when one plays for a major career title, no chances are taken.

But in terms of contest, it was a roller coaster ride for fans as Santangelo outplayed for most part of the first two sets, unsettled by the big forehand of her rival and her own quota of unforced errors, turned the match around after taking the second set in a heart stopping tie-breaker. She then raced to the top in the deciding set with Kostanic struggling with a muscle pull. "It wasn't a bad final and I liked the way the Italian girl fought her way back into the match. I wish our players had that kind of spunk," said a young fan who basically turned up to watch the doubles.

For 25-year-old Santangelo, it was the biggest singles triumph in her career. "This is a memorable win and I am happy to win the Bangalore Open," said the Italian who trains in Rome, and started playing the game as a nine-year-old. She was also thrilled with the crowd response. "It was nice playing and winning here and I will carry home a lot of good memories about Bangalore."

Her only regret here was that she couldn't do much sight seeing, which is her hobby.She hopes to do that if and when she comes around here next time to defend her title.

"It all depends how the season goes for me, right now, it has begun well. Thank you, Bangalore," signed off the WTA Bangalore Open champion.

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