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Attack or bust says Mirza

Mirza says she has no intention of abandoning her go-for-broke style as she looks to break into the top 20.

india Updated: Sep 05, 2005 14:32 IST

India's new idol Sania Mirza says she has no intention of abandoning her go-for-broke style of play as she looks to break into the world top 20.

The 18-year-old from Hyderabad gave a fair account of herself against top seed Maria Sharapova in her first appearance in a Grand Slam round of 16 here on Sunday, but after a bright start was overwhelmed 6-2, 6-1 by the Russian.

She was upbeat after the defeat saying that: "I had a lot of fun out there."

"First US Open, I don't think I can ask for more. Very happy."

"The score-line suggests it's two and one, but I think it was much closer than that. There were lots of deuces and advantages that I had," she said.

For most of the 59-minute long match Mirza was able to match Sharapova, one of the hardest hitters in the game, in the exchanges.

But her serve was fitfull at best and once again her unforced errors were almost twice as high as her opponents.

In Mirza's tough two sets win over France's Marion Bartoli in the third round, she had an incredible 49 unforced error for 45 winners.

That reflects her natural attacking game and she scoffed at suggestions that it was time to take a more measured approach to the game.

"I think people have to accept that is the way I play. I'm not going to win matches by moonballing. I'm not going to satisfy myself if I play like that.

"I enjoy hitting the ball hard as I can, I enjoy taking the risks and I believe that you always have to take risks."

She acknowledged however that her tennis is still a work in progress and that she needed to put in some hard work if she wants to improve her game notably on her service action.

As usual Mirza drew a large crowd of Indian fans, this time to the Arthur Ashe Stadium court, to cheer her on. But apart from a break of serve against the Russian in the fifth game, they were seldom allowed to make their presence felt.

"I was expecting that," she said. "I knew it was going to be packed and I was expecting there was going to be a lot of crowd for me and her. So I was prepared for it mentally."

"It's nice to know that people really like you and they're really for you wherever you go."

Commenting on the first meeting between the two, Sharapova said that Mirza "was definitely great for the sport."

"Tennis is a very global sport. She's very young, has a great future ahead of her. Very big game. I think she needs experience, she'll learn," she said.

First Published: Sep 05, 2005 14:32 IST