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Mirza proud despite defeat to Venus

Sania Mirza says she will take a lot of positives out of her loss to Venus Williams at the Australian Open on Saturday, and likes to think she has done her country proud.

sports Updated: Jan 19, 2008 21:24 IST

Sania Mirza says she will take a lot of positives out of her loss to Venus Williams at the Australian Open on Saturday, and likes to think she has done her country proud.

India's top player put up a credible fight against the six-time Grand Slam champion and eighth seed, keeping pace with one of the big hitters in the game in an entertaining third round tie.

"Obviously, I'm a little disappointed because I felt like I had the first set and should have closed it out at 5-4," said the 31st seed after losing 7-6 (7/0), 6-4 in a slugfest on centre court.

"I take a lot of positives out of it. I mean, she's supposed to be one of the biggest hitters of the game, and I was outhitting her. And I think that's a very good thing for me, for my confidence.

"Obviously I stepped it up in the last couple of days. She just pressed on the gas pedal when she needed to, and I didn't. I think that was the difference. But I think I was in it till the end."

The Hyderabad-based right-hander came into the tournament under a cloud after becoming engulfed in another controversy back home, but put it aside to show glimpses of her talent.

And she was encouraged by how she performed.

"I think we always knew that she's one of the best servers in the game, and I'm really not. I mean, I'm very critical about my game. I think I'm one of the worst servers in the game," she said.

"But, if you want me to put it very matter of factly, I think that I was still able to hold my own. I was able to hold my serve.

"Of course, she came up with the aces when she needed today, and I couldn't, but I did serve pretty well."

While Mirza has run afoul of Muslim fundamentalists in the past for wearing short skirts and sleeveless tops on court, she said she is intensely proud to be an Indian and hopes she has done her country proud.

"In my eyes I'm representing my country all the time," she said.

"I'm from India. Everyone knows I'm from India. I'm playing for my country. Yes, it's an individual sport and everything, but I think people associate us by our country.

"I love it. I love playing for them."