India's Sania Mirza crashed out of Wimbledon as her gutsy fightback against Spain's Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez ended in a heartbreaking 0-6, 6-4, 7-9 defeat on Thursday. Mirza, the 32nd seed, lost the first eight games of the second round tie but recovered well enough to earn four match points in the final set. But with a first ever place in the Wimbledon last 32 within touching distance, the 21-year-old was unable to complete her remarkable revival.
Martinez Sanchez eventually sneaked through to face either defending champion Venus Williams or Britain's Anne Keothavong. Martinez Sanchez, ranked 101, was in the second round of a Grand Slam for the first time, but it was Mirza who struggled to find any rhythm at the start. She was broken three times to giftwrap the first set for her opponent.
When a shell-shocked Mirza double faulted again to give Martinez Sanchez an early break in the second set, the match seemed to be heading for a quick conclusion. But Mirza finally stopped the rot by getting on the scoreboard in the ninth game. Suddenly Martinez Sanchez was wilting and Mirza sensed an opportunity. Hitting with renewed authority she converted her fourth set point with a superb lob.
Mirza broke in the second game of the final set but just as she had control, the Indian stumbled, with series of unforced errors giving Martinez Sanchez a quick break back. She kept pounding away from the baseline and broke again only for Martinez Sanchez to break back once more. Mirza had four match points on Martinez Sanchez's service, first at 5-4 and then three more at 6-5, but couldn't convert.
Top seeds advance
Champion Venus Williams scrambled past British No. 1 Anne Keothavong, winning 7-5, 6-2. Meanwhile, Thailand's Tamarine Tanasugarn stunned Vera Zvonareva, the Russian 13th seed, in the second round beating her 7-6 (12/10), 4-6, 6-3 win. Men’s second seed Rafael Nadal overcame a first set scare against Latvian Ernests Gulbis to reach the third round with a 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (7/2), 6-3 win.