Bangalore openSania advances as seeds tumble

Bangalore, February 14:

With Martina Muller no more threatening than a gentle hitting partner, Sania Mirza almost looked bored with ease as she got through her first round match at the $175,000 Bangalore Open. Sania, producing a flurry of scorching groundstrokes, beat the German 6-2, 6-2 to set up a second round clash with France’s Camille Pin. Sania is the defending champion at Bangalore, after the WTA tour event shifted here from Hyderabad.

For the second rung of women’s tennis in India, it was a mixed day as Isha Lakhani stepped into the second round but Ankita Bhambri fell at the first hurdle. Lakhani was leading 4-1 in the first set when her Slovakian rival Katarina Kachlikova pulled out after aggravating an eye infection. Lakhani now clashes with Ukraine’s Yuliana Fedak for a place in the quarter-final.

Sybille Bammer of Austria and eighth seeded Emma Laine of Finland also made first round exit. Third seeded Mara Santengelo of Italy advanced to the second round with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Henrieta Nagyova of Slovakia.

The Italian was joined in the round of 16 by American Vania King, who put out Tatiana Poutchek of Belarus 6-1, 6-3. Fedak accounted for Laine, who retired after complaining of acute tonsilitis. Fedak was leading 6-3, 3-1. Russia’s Anastassia Rodionova shocked Bammer 6-4, 5-7, 6-0.