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Mirza eyes Australian Open seeding

Mirza has only been seeded for a Grand Slam event, when ranked 32nd at Australian Open and 26th at the US Open.

sports Updated: Jan 06, 2008 12:08 IST

Indian sensation Sania Mirza is confident of securing a seeding at next week's Australian Open, to boost her chances of steaming through the early rounds of the season's first Grand Slam.

The 21-year-old Mirza said she was hopeful of reaping the rewards of the last 12 months when she peaked at 27 on the WTA rankings before finishing the year at 31.

"I most probably will be seeded, which is a good thing," she told AFP.

"The US Open I was seeded for the second time and it really helps, because you don't meet one of the big players in the second round.

"I feel better and better every day hitting the ball and I am feeling good," she said during the mixed teams Hopman Cup here where she teamed with compatriot Rohan Bopanna.

Mirza has only been seeded for a Grand Slam event twice, when ranked 32nd at the 2006 Australian Open and 26th at the 2007 US Open.

She reached the third round of last year's US Open before bowing out to sixth seed Anna Chakvetadze.

Mirza said she hoped a seeding in Melbourne would help her at least reach the third round, equalling her best performance there in 2005.

She reached the fourth round of the US Open, also in 2005, the best of her career, and welcomed the Australian Open's move to switch from Rebound Ace to Plexicushion, a surface similar to the slower American courts.

"I think it's less dangerous, you don't stick so much, which is a very good thing," she said.

"I like it, it is very close to the US Open and I like playing the US Open."

Mirza had mixed results during the Hopman Cup, losing two of three singles matches, although she and Bopanna were unbeaten in the mixed doubles.

She conceded aspects of her game needed honing, but was hopeful she had recovered from injuries that nagged her progress in 2007, and was generally pleased with her singles form.

Mirza rounds out her preparation for the Australia Open, which starts January 14, by playing in Hobart. And having successfully achieved her goal of reaching the top 30 in 2007, she was guarded about her plans for this year.

"I just want to stay healthy," said Mirza who has suffered a string of injuries. "I don't want to look too far ahead of myself."