Strong start for India's Mirza in Japan Open

OSAKA: India's Sania Mirza sent out a strong signal of intent when she eliminated fifth seed Shahar Peer of Israel in the first round of the Japan Open women's tennis tournament on Monday.

The 22-year-old Mirza, who captured her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open mixed doubles with Mahesh Bhupathi this season, needed one hour 52 minutes to complete a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over her frequent doubles partner.

In the second round, Mirza will take on Viktoriya Kutuzova of Ukraine, the winner over Russian Maria Kirilenko who retired after losing the first set 6-2.

Eighth seed Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan fell to France's Mathilde Johansson 7-5, 2-6, 7-5, but fourth seed Francesca Schiavone of Italy and seventh seed Melinda Czink of Hungary safely went through.

Schiavone outclassed Anne Kremer of Luxembourg 7-5, 6-2, while Czink dispatched Japanese wild card entrant Ryoko Fuda 6-4, 6-4.

In other first-round action, Britain's Katie O'Brien breezed past Alexa Glatch of the United States 6-3, 6-4.