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BREAKING NEWS - US OPEN

SANIA MIRZA

def

Elena Camerin

6-4, 1-6, 6-4

Marvellous Mirza into third round at US Open

NEW YORK (AFP) - Indian starlet Sania Mirza battled painful leg cramps to reach the third round of the US Open matching her best performance to date in a Grand Slam event. The 18-year-old from Hyderabad defeated Italy's Elena Camerin 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 in a roller-coaster of a match and with France's Marion Bartoli to follow, she will harbour genuine hopes of reaching the last 16 and a likely encounter with top seed Maria Sharapova.But she will need to fully recover physically from what was a punishing second round tie if is she is to better her breakthrough third round performance at this year's Australian Open where she eventually lost to Serena Williams."It was a very strange match and was very up and down," said Mirza who is playing in her first US Open."It was very windy today both of us were having a problem. I was just trying to get my rhythm and she was playing some good tennis."Mirza quickly sped into the lead behind her big serve and forehand and she reached set point at 5-3 on her own serve.But she squandered that with a run of poor shots culminating in a woeful forehand volley at the net that sailed long.That allowed Camerin to get back on serve, but the Indian powered down a series of big forehands to put the pressure back on and she converted on her third set point when Camerin floated a forehand long.But the edginess Mirza had shown at the end of the first set continued to manifest itself at the start of the second as the Italian broke straight away for a 2-0 lead and then showing more consistency, won four out of the next five games to level the tie.Camerin needed courtside treatment for an injury to her left leg, delaying the start of the decider, but on her return she promptly held serve and then broke Mirza yet again to take a 2-0 lead.The fizz had gone out of Mirza's usual aggressive game, but she rallied in the next game to break to love and get back on serve at 2-2.A disputed line call gave the Indian break point in the next game and despite clear signs that she was cramping in her legs she converted it to go 3-2 up.That seemed to take the wind out of Camerin's sails and with the crowd getting beind her Mirza served well to go 4-2 up.She let two more break points to go 5-2 up slip through her grasp and instead paid the penalty as Camerin took advantage of her opponent's lack of mobility by breaking back and levelling at 4-4.But just when it looked like she had blown her chance, Mirza gave it one last go, and with Camerin struggling with her serve Mirza first saved a game point and then broke instead to serve for the match.

News/Articles
Sania Mirza vs Maria Sharapova at US Open?
India's brightest hope at the US Open Sania Mirza finds herself placed in the same half of the women's singles draw that includes World No.1 and top seed Maria Sharapova of Russia.Sania, ranked 50th in the world, opens her campaign against the tricky opponent in Mashona Washington, who is six places lower than her in the WTA ranking. The Sania-Mashona face-off will be the first ever between them. Mashona, 29, was a member of the US Fed Cup team that reached the semifinals this year and a six-time veteran of the US Open.

Sania breaks into top-50, officially

August 08, 2005 : In a dream come true for Sania Mirza, the teen tennis star became the first Indian woman to enter the top-50 list.

Sania, who was 59 last week, jumped 11 places to be at 48 following her fine run in the USD 1.3 million Acura Classic in San Diego, according to the WTA rankings released on Monday.

Sania also becomes the first Indian since Ramesh Krishnan to break into the top-50 in world rankings. Vijay Amritraj was ranked 16th in July 1980, while Ramesh Krishnan was ranked 23rd in 1985.

His father Ramanathan Krishnan was ranked world number three before the Open era. The highest ranking occupied by an Indian woman before Sania exploded on the scene was 134 by Nirupama Vaidyanathan in 1997.

Leander Paes' highest ever singles ranking was 73.

Going into the tournament, Sania needed 90 points to break into the top-50. She accumulated 103.5 points (including bonus points) from her two main draw as well as two qualifying round wins.

 

Sania Mirza stuns Nadia Petrova

August 4, 2005: Sania Mirza continued her impressive form on the WTA tour crushing fourth seeded Russian Nadia Petrova in straight sets 6-2, 6-1 in the second round at the 1.3 million-dollar Tier I tournament in San Diego, USA.

The 18-year-old Indian, striding towards her goal of making it to the top-50 in world rankings, humbled World No. 8 Petrova in just 53 minutes to set up a clash with Japan's Akiko Morigami in the third round.
The win against the top-10 player would give Sania many bonus points and speed up her entry into the top-50 bracket.

The Hyderabad girl, currently ranked 59th on the WTA rankings, had posted a similar thumping victory over World No 78 Tathiana Garbin of Italy in the first round at the La Costa Resort and Spa venue on Tuesday.

After beginning the year with an impressive third round appearance in the Australian Open, before losing to eventual Serena Williams, Sania won her first WTA title at the Hyderabad Open in February before missing the tour with an ankle injury.

She also beat reigning US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia in Dubai in March. After losing in the first round of the French Open, she went out in the second round of Wimbledon.

 

Breaking New Ground: Sania Mirza


August 5, 2005: "I see something very bright coming up, but we need patience. Now that people know that the game is there and how much hard work it takes, I'm sure we'll have a lot more Indian women on the circuit very soon."
Under a clear evening sky in Stanford, California, Sania Mirza walked out onto centre court to a sell-out crowd at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium to contest her second round match against former world No.1 Venus Williams. Contrary to what could be assumed, however, the capacity crowd of 4,353 was just as much a function of Mirza's presence as it was the reigning Wimbledon champion's. The Indian teenager has been breaking new ground this season for a country of over one billion people, and it doesn't look like anything is going to stop her from going even higher in the years to come.

Born in the heavily-populated city of Mumbai, which is situated on the western coast of India along the Arabian Sea, and raised in the smaller, more laid-back city of Hyderabad on the eastern coast along the Bay of Bengal, Mirza's focus during her early years was not always on tennis. She began playing the sport at age six when her mother Naseema, who runs her own printing press, would take her to the local tennis courts during summer holidays on the way to swimming, always one of her other main interests. The young girl quickly took a liking to the sport, but had to overcome obstacles from the beginning.

"My mother took me to a coach, who initially refused to coach me because I was too small," said Mirza. "After a month, he called my parents to say he'd never seen a player that good at such a young age."

During the summer, Mirza would play several times a week, and began contesting her first local tournaments at age seven. With few expectations and little pressure coming from her parents, who nevertheless supported her unconditionally, she developed a keen motivation to improve, working hard from the start to become the best player she could be.

"After I started playing, it just kept improving," said Mirza, whose other childhood interests included dancing, studying, Indian history and English, which she speaks fluently. "I never put pressure on myself to make it big in tennis; I just took it step by step."

When Mirza was 12, her hard work, determination and positive attitude paid off, as she won the under-14 and under-16 Indian national championships. It was then that the hard-hitting teenager began taking the idea of making tennis into a career seriously.

"That was when I really knew I wanted to be a professional player," said Mirza, who received her first sponsorship with adidas soon after her junior national titles. "Obviously, the main challenge I faced was financial. My parents had to struggle at first, but when I was 13 years old I got a sponsor, which I'm actually still with today."

In addition to overcoming her financial hurdles, Mirza would also have to realize she was about to travel the road untravelled. India had never had a successful female tennis player on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, and the sport of tennis was and still is greatly overshadowed in India by cricket, a national obsession.

"Coming from India, you have no tradition of female tennis players, and people thought I was stupid," said Mirza, who grew up admiring 22-time Grand Slam champion Steffi Graf. "However, in India, it's not like every girl has to become a doctor or a lawyer - they can be anything they want, and I knew that this was right.

"As a person, you earn the respect you get by working hard and giving your best, and people appreciate it - being a sportsperson is the same, it makes no difference if you're a man or a woman."

Mirza played her first pro tournaments on the ITF Women's Circuit in India in 2001 aged 14, winning six of nine matches. Between 2002 and 2004, Mirza played almost exclusively on the ITF Circuit, accumulating a 90-13 overall record and claiming 12 singles titles. She also made her Tour singles debut as a wildcard at Hyderabad in 2003, the same year she collected the Wimbledon junior doubles title with Russian Alisa Kleybanova. In 2004, she played her second and third career Tour events at Hyderabad and Casablanca, losing in the first round again at both. But Mirza managed to make history that year on the Tour in doubles, becoming the first Indian woman in history to win a Tour event by claiming the doubles title at Hyderabad with Liezel Huber.

It was in early 2005 at the Australian Open, Hyderabad and Dubai where Mirza made her more publicized breakthroughs. As a wildcard into Melbourne in January, Mirza became the first Indian woman to reach the third round at a Grand Slam, squandering a 4-2 lead in the second set before losing to eventual champion Serena Williams 61 64. Mirza then travelled back home to Hyderabad in February, where she made history and thrilled her home crowd once again, becoming the youngest Indian, male or female, to claim a Tour singles title when she won her debut title in only her fifth Tour-level main draw at the Hyderabad Open.

Mirza's barnstorming run caused a sensation in her hometown event, where hundreds of would-be spectators were turned away as the stadium was full to overflowing with tennis fans, new and old.

The 18-year-old added another milestone to her impressive start to 2005 in early March, notching her first win over a Top 10 player at Dubai, coming back from a 4-0 first-set deficit to stun reigning US Open champion and then-world-No.7 Svetlana Kuznetsova 64 62 en route to a quarterfinal finish at the $1,000,000 Tier II event.

"This year has obviously been huge for me," said Mirza, who broke into the Top 100 after her run at Hyderabad, and is currently ranked No.59 in the world. "I've come far, but I'm definitely not satisfied. I feel like I'm improving on a daily basis - I'm working hard for what I want, and I just want to be the best I can."

Mirza's meteoric rise up the rankings has been accompanied by exploding popularity in her native India and with Indian populations all over the world. She is often cheered on by large, flag-waving Indian crowds at tournaments around the globe and has received an incredible amount of media attention, including public appearance requests - she's helping promote the inaugural Tier III Sony Ericsson WTA Tour event in Kolkata, the Sunfeast Open, next month - and numerous offers of endorsements. Back home in India, she travels with security whenever she goes out.

"I enjoy every bit of it," said Mirza on the attention. "People are really excited in India. They've never had a woman do something like this before."

In addition to all of the positive media attention, Mirza also has to deal with the expectations of a nation when she steps onto the tennis court. This type of pressure has been known to curtail players' progress in the past, but Mirza seems comfortable with the expectations and understands it is all part of the legend she is potentially creating for herself.

"I'm okay with the pressure, because I play better under pressure," she said. "A person who achieves success learns to deal with stuff like that. They learn that that's just the way it's going to be when you do something big."

The recent focus on Mirza has also helped cultivate a greater following of tennis in India, which has always been overshadowed by the country's obsession with cricket.

"There is quite a bit of tennis coverage, but whenever cricket is shown, the country comes to a standstill," said Mirza, who believes if she were born a boy, her father Imran, a former cricketer who is now a builder, would have probably encouraged her into the sport. "Right now, tennis is definitely moving up, but first there is always cricket. Cricket is a tradition; that's not going to change. There is no competition between the two sports.

"I just want people to know they can play other sports too, and make a career out of them. They now know what tennis is; they know now that everything isn't just cricket, so more people are learning how to play tennis, and the sport is growing."

Mirza knows the future growth of tennis in India doesn't just depend on her and her achievements, but on an upcoming crop of junior players that, with her in the public eye, will have somebody to look up to and follow. However, at just 18 years of age, Mirza is at the stage where she still has to focus on her own career.

"Right now, I'm still young, and I'm at the stage where I still have to develop my own game," she said. "But whenever kids come up to me to ask for advice, I love to help. I know I would love to become involved with juniors in the future."

Mirza's hard work has been paying off this year, and despite losing that second round match to Williams in Stanford, she knows she is well on her way to achieving her dreams.

"In the long-term, I have a long way to go. I'm satisfied with what I have, but not satisfied enough. I believe in working hard, and I'll see where the future takes me."

 
 
 
Last Update 1 September 2005
Ranking # 42
IndianGlam Top Sites
CURRENT
1r: Mirza def. Washington 7-6 6-7 6-4
2r: Mirza def Camerin 6-4, 1-6, 6-4
LAST
Forest Hills Women's Tennis Classic
Final: L. Safarova def S. Mirza
3-6, 7-5, 6-4
NEXT
September 19th: Beijing
October 3rd: Filderstadt
October 10th: Moscow
October 31st: Philadelphia
November 7th: WTA Championships
WTA Tour Rankings
Aug 29, 2005
Singles 42 / Doubles 140
  YTD Career
Singles titles 1 1
Doubles titles 0 1
ITF Women's Circuit singles titles
0 12
Prize Money $168,853 $215,293
Win Loss Record Singles
25-15 121-35
Win Loss Record Doubles 5-5 55-27
     
 
 
BIO
Residence
  Hyderabad, India
Date of Birth
  November 15, 1986
Birthplace
  Mumbai, India
Height
  5'7 1/2" (1.53m)
Weight
  130 lbs. (59kg)
Plays
  Right-handed (two-handed backhand)
Status
  Pro (2003)
 
2005 (Ranking - )
SINGLES
 Winner (1): Hyderabad
 Quarterfinalist (2): Dubai, Cincinnati.
DOUBLES
Semifinalist (1): Cincinnati (w/Fedak).
 
2004 (Ranking 206)
ITF/Boca Raton 2-USA, ITF/Campobasso-ITA, ITF/Wrexham-GBR, ITF/London-GBR, ITF/Lagos 2-NGR
 
2003 (Ranking 399)
ITF/Benin City 1-NIG, ITF/Benin City 2-NIG, ITF/Jakarta 2-INA
 
2002 ( Ranking 837)
ITF/Manila 2-PHI, ITF/Hyderabad-IND, ITF/Manila 1-PHI.
 
Grand Slam (singles) History
  WL 05 04
AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2-1 3r  
ROLAND GARROS 0-1 1r  
WIMBLEDON 1-1 2r  
       
 
 
PERSONAL
Coached by her father, Imran and John Farrington ... Began playing tennis at age 6 ... father, Imran, is a builder, and mother, Naseema, works in printing business ... has one sister, Anam ... favorite colors are red and black ... likes movie Ocean's 11 and actors Brad Pitt and Hugh Grant ... likes listening to hip hop, including Eminem ... also likes playing cricket and swimming ... most admires Gandhi ... also admires tennis play of Steffi Graf.
 
CAREER IN REVIEW
2004 - On Tour, l. in 1r as WC at Hyderabad (l. 46 63 62 to eventual champion No.59 Pratt, later won doubles title w/L.Huber for first Tour title of career - became the youngest-ever Indian, male or female, to win a Tour event and the first woman from India to capture a WTA Tour title) and Casablanca (l. 57 64 62 to eventual champion No.40 Loit); on ITF Circuit, reached nine singles finals, winning at $10K ITF/Boca Raton 2-USA, $10K ITF/Campobasso-ITA, $10K ITF/Wrexham-GBR, $10K ITF/London-GBR, $25K ITF/Lagos 1-NGR and $25K ITF/Lagos 2-NGR, and six doubles finals, winning four; broke into singles Top 200 at No.193 on October 25
 
2005 IN DETAIL
JANUARY - Had successful Grand Slam debut at Australian Open as wild card, reaching 3r with victories against wild card Watson, Mandula before falling to No.7 seed Serena Williams; became first Indian woman to reach 3r at Grand Slam event; helped improve ranking from No.166 to No.132.

FEBRUARY - In only fifth main draw Tour event, captures first career title in home country of India at Hyderabad Open, defeating No.9 seed A.Bondarenko in championship match; becomes first Indian women to capture Tour singles title; defeats Sescioreanu (100th career victory), No.4 seed Zheng, Obziler and No.8 seed Kirilenko en route to championship match; breaks into Top 100 for first time at No.99 on Feb. 14 rankings; withdrew from Bogota following week due to right ankle sprain.

MARCH - As wild card at Dubai, defeated Kostanic in 1r and followed with straight sets upset of No.4 seed Kuznetsova in next match before straight sets loss to Jankovic; attracted large crowds to her matches all week in Dubai; continues climb in rankings on March 7 to new best of No.77; as wild card at Miami, fell to Sanchez Lorenzo in 1r.

APRIL - Withdrew from Rabat due to ankle injury.

MAY - Made debut at Roland Garros, falling to No.30 seed Dulko in 1r.

JUNE - At Birmingham, defeated Schaul in 1r, but fell to No.3 seed Jankovic in next match; made debut at Wimbledon, defeating Morigami in 1r before three set loss to No.5 seed Kuznetsova in 2r.

JULY - Reached third QF of year at Cincinnati, defeating No.7 seed Groenefeld and Brandi before falling to Morigami; reached second doubles SF of season at Cincinnati (w/Fedak); reaches new career-high of No.64 on July 25 rankings; lost in last round of qualifying at Stanford, but reached main draw as lucky loser and defeated wild card Daniilidou in 1r before loss to No.2 seed Venus Williams in 2r.

AUGUST - Continued move closer to Top 50, reaching new career-best of No.59 on August 1; qualified for main draw at San Diego and reached 3r with victories vs. qualifier Garbin and No.4 seed Petrova before three-set loss to Morigami; becomes first Indian player to ever crack Top 50 in rankings on August 8 after improving from No.59 to No.48; fell to Benesova in three sets in 1r at Los Angeles.

 
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