Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Sania scripts thrilling doubles upset at US Open

Sania Mirza and her American partner Bethanie Mattek pulled off an upset win over second seeds Lisa Raymond and Samantha Stosur to reach the quarter-finals of the women's doubles event at the US Open.

The number 16 seeds stared defeat in the face before battling past their US-Aussie opponents 2-6, 7-5, 7-5 in a little more than two hours.

Amazingly, Mirza and Mattek won a total of 105 points in the match, three less than their opponents. They also had a lower first service percentage and more unforced errors. But they won the crucial points and that's what mattered in the end.

Mirza had also partnered Mattek to win the Cincinnati doubles title in July.

Leander Paes and his American partner Meghann Shaughnessy followed Mirza and Mattek onto the Grandstand court and eased past home crowd favourites Justin Gimelstob and Ashley Harkleroad 6-3 6-4 in an hour and 15 minutes to reach the mixed doubles semifinals.

Indian fans hoping for a hat-trick of wins were disappointed when Mirza returned to the same court with Mahesh Bhupathi. Perhaps Mirza was tired but the Belarussian pair of Victoria Azarenka and Max Mirnyi truly deserved their 6-4, 6-1 victory in exactly one hour, which saw them advance to the mixed doubles semifinals.

Meanwhile, India's campaign in the junior singles came to an end in the first round when 17-year-old Poojashree Venkatesh lost to Korea's Sung-Hee Han in straight sets 6-3, 6-2.

Venkatesh is partnering Alexa Guarachi of the US in the girls' doubles event.

Earlier, promising youngster Yuki Bhambri missed out on a main draw berth in the boys' singles event. Bhambri, seeded 12 in qualifying, fell 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 to unseeded Bradley Klahn of the US in the final round. The 15-year-old Indian prodigy had beaten Chase Buchanan 6-4, 6-2 in his first match.

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