Sania enters fourth round, defeats Bartoli

Sania Mirza has stormed into the fourth round of the women's singles event at the US Open

updated: February 25, 2007 10:48 IST
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New York:

India's Sania Mirza has stormed into the fourth round at the US Open. In the women's singles event, she beat world No. 43 Marion Bartoli of France 7-6 (7-4) 6-4. Sania's powerful ground strokes proved too hot to handle for the 19-year old Bartoli whose defensive tactics backfired against her aggressive opponent. The 18-year old Mirza will now meet either Russian top seed Maria Sharapova or Julia Schruff of Germany for a berth in the quarterfinals. With this win, Sania, who is ranked 42 has become the first Indian to advance to the fourth round of a grand slam. Unforced errors While Sania dominated throughout the match, she made many unforced errors. She also had 45 winners to just four from Bartoli. The 2003 Wimbledon junior doubles champion overcame a poor start when she was broken in her very first serving game. There was a minor lapse in concentration after Bartoli took a medical timeout with scores level at 5-5. But Sania soon stamped her class in the tie-breaker which she dominated with rousing winners both on serve and while returning. The second set saw Sania completely outclass her opponent. Bartoli caught Sania off guard in the first game to force four breakpoints and converted the last by attacking the latter's second serve. But Sania had little difficulty in recovering from the set back. A feathertouch drop shot from Sania followed by a doublefault left Bartoli with triple breakpoints, and the Indian converted the first with a rousing forehand winner. Tightening screws Sania then saved three breakpoints in the next game to hold on to the advantage. Time was fast running out for Bartoli as Sania tightened the screws. Her serves became stronger, marked by two aces in the seventh game. Serving to stay in the match, Bartoli was greeted with a stunning backhand cross court winner. The French teenager then found the net. Soon, Sania rifled a backhand service return for two match points. Bartoli saved the first before a forehand winner sealed the issue in favour of the Indian. (With PTI inputs)