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Mirza blows up and out

Just when it seemed that Sania Mirza was back to the form, she blew a great chance to reach her first quarter-final since October last year.

india Updated: Jun 16, 2006 12:40 IST

Just when it seemed that Sania Mirza was back to the form which made her such a hit at last year's Wimbledon, she blew a great chance to reach her first quarter-final since October on Thursday.

The 19-year-old from Hyderabad led by a set and 3-1, and by 5-3 in the final set before somehow contriving to lose 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3) to Meilen Tu, a qualifier from the United States, in the third round of the DFS Classic.

The Indian starlet was too upset to talk to the press after her defeat, although she did release a statement in which she claimed cramps had contributed to her defeat.

"I'm really disappointed to lose today," she said.

"I thought I had the match in my hands as I started off so well but I wasn't feeling well in the second set. I had cramps and it went wrong from there.

"All credit to Meilen, she really hung in there and deserved to win today."

It was a significant disappointment for the first Indian woman to break the world's top 50, because Mirza's fitness problems had seemed behind her, and her section of the draw, without the injured third-seeded Daniela Hantuchova, had been opening up invitingly.

Mirza also appeared to have created a pattern by which she could dominate an opponent who rallied determinedly from the baseline but whose ranking has slipped outside the top 100 after a sequence of injury problems.

When Mirza backed up her flat attacks with a tight focus, she got on top, and she also appeared to have Tu rattled early in the second set, when the American glared understandably at the noisy hospitality tents.