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Sania stopped in her stride
rediff.com Sportsdesk | March 03, 2005 23:48 IST
Sania Mirza's dream run in Dubai came to an abrupt end as Serbia's Jelena Jankovic ousted her in just 48 minutes in the quarter-final of the $1,000,000 Dubai Duty Free Women's Open on Thursday.
The world number 28 beat the Indian teen sensation 6-2, 6-2 to set up a semi-final clash with Serena Williams, who beat Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia 6-4, 6-3 in another quarter-final.
In the other quarter-finals, Patty Schnyder (Switzerland) beat Anastasia Myskina (Russia) 6-7(0-7), 7-6 (7-2), 6-2 while top seed Lindsay Davenport (U.S.) beat Conchita Martinez (Spain) 6-1, 6-4.
Sania, fresh from a surprise victory over reigning US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova on Tuesday, came beaming onto the court to a rousing reception from the crowd.
The Serbian though was quick to spoil the party as she won the first three games, breaking Sania twice. A string of loose serves and forehand errors plagued the Indian early on.
Though Sania won a game on her opponent's serve in the fourth game, she squandered a tight service game with a slam into the net to trail 1-4. Jankovic, who moved Sania around and forced her into errors on the rallies, then wasted little time in wrapping the set at 6-2.
The second set turned out to be no different. Sania was broken in the third game as Jankovic matched the Indian's power with clinical shots. She hardly took any risks and forced the 18-year-old to commit mistakes.
Sania's groundstrokes failed her on the day. Also, Jankovic frequently got her into trouble by rushing to the net.
Once Jankovic won the fifth game on love off Sania's serve to lead 3-2, the Indian virtually threw in the towel. Her fight and confidence deserted her as Jankovic raced to an easy victory.
"Whole crowd was against me but I just tried to play my best," said Jankovic after the match.
Earlier, Serena, during her post-match chat, sensing the pulse of the crowd rushing in for Sania's match, encouraged the Indian.
"You are all here for Sania, aren't you? Go Sania," exhorted former world number one sportingly.