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Sania in third round of Australian Open qualifiers

sports Updated: Jan 15, 2011 15:59 IST

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Sania Mirza is a step away from entering the Australian Open main draw as she battled past Russian Vitalia Diatchenko 6-4, 6-7 (7), 6-3 to reach the third round of the qualifiers here on Saturday.

Sania got a tough fight from the Russian, who fought back after losing the first set before the Indian stepped up the gas in the decider to wrap up the match in two and a half hours.

Sania will now have to overcome Canadian Stephanie Dubois, who got the better of Australian Sophie Letcher 6-1, 6-4, for a place in the main draw of the year's first Grand Slam.

The 24-year-old Indian, ranked 145, is slightly better in world rankings with Stephanie placed at 164.

Sania lost the only time she has played Stephanie in 2009 on Vancouver hard courts.

Sania has a career-high-singles raking of 27 which she achieved in 2007, but has slipped out of top-100 for the first time in five years owing to a recurring wrist injury.