Sania Mirza crashed out of the Australian Open singles event after being hammered in straight sets by Russian 10th seed Nadia Petrova in the second round.
World number 11 Petrova took just 70 minutes to beat the 22-year-old Sania 6-3 6-2, also bringing down the curtains on India's singles challenge.
Although disappointed with the loss, Sania said she was relieved to be back on the court after being out for months due to a wrist injury. “I'm just happy to be back and doing what I love doing, playing tennis and competing. I'm disappointed at losing but I will try and take positives from this,” she said.
Sania and Petrova had faced each other twice earlier and the record stood 1-1.
Petrova broke Sania in the fourth game of the first set to take a 3-1 lead. Petrova consolidated the lead to 4-1 by holding her serve in the next and the set went on serve from there in favour of the Russian.
Sania did well to save another break and edge closer to the Russian at 3-5 but Petrova managed to take the first set after an unforced error by Sania. The second set saw Petrova assert her authority and a combination of four aces, five points won at the net and three forehand winners saw her easily clinch the match.
Sania got an early chance to break Petrova when she had two breakpoints in the fourth game. But the Russian served extremely well to deny the Indian any chance of a comeback into the match.
Petrova broke Sania in the fifth and seventh games to take a 5-2 lead before serving out the set and match with the help of a couple of aces.
“There are no excuses. I could blame it on a lack of match practice time, or on playing the world number 10. I had a sore stomach as well,” she said. “But at the end of the day I have to give her credit.”
Thursday’s Big games
R Nadal (ESPx1) v R Karanusic (AUS); V Williams (USA x6) v C.S. Navarro (ESP); G Dulko (ARG) v S Williams (USA x2); A Murray (GBR x4) v M Granollers (ESP).