Bangalore Open: Sania-Huber duo in final
In front of a noisy house at the KSLTA Kingfisher Stadium that cared little for etiquette, Sania and Liezel Huber (South Africa) defeated Israel's Shahar Peer and Russia's Mariya Koryttseva 7-5, 6-7 (8-6), 6-4 on Saturday to enter the WTA Bangalore Open doubles final.india Updated: Feb 19, 2006 03:50 IST
In front of a noisy house at the KSLTA Kingfisher Stadium that cared little for etiquette, Sania and Liezel Huber (South Africa) defeated Israel's Shahar Peer and Russia's Mariya Koryttseva 7-5, 6-7 (8-6), 6-4 on Saturday to enter the WTA Bangalore Open doubles final. The second seeds will play fourth-seeded Russian pair of Elena Vesnina and Anastassia Rodionova on Sunday.
Sania, playing the deuce court, and Huber were lucky to win against Peer-Koryttseva. Not only was the crowd partisan and disrespectful, but both players could have played better on the big points, especially in the second set tie-break, when they held a match point.
All credit to Sania and Huber, though, for putting behind the second set defeat and getting back on track in the third. Sania also compensated for her earlier misses by taking responsibility and shielding the off-form Huber from her opponents. Serving at 3-3 in the decider, Koryttseva double faulted on breakpoint. But then, Huber lost serve and the score was level at 4-4. With the crowd whistling and screaming without break, not even during points, Sania-Huber broke Peer for 5-4.
Serving for a match many thought they had lost after the heartbreaking second set, Sania kept her nerve. An excellent first serve wide to the opponents' forehand made it 15-0. Then came a hard forehand that forced a long volley. Huber, shaky so far, put away a forehand volley for 40-0. On the final point, Peer shot a backhand long.
Earlier in the singles, Sixth-seeded Jelena Kostanic made it to the title clash, beating Hungary's Melinda Czink 6-0, 7-6 (7-2) in the semi-final.
On Friday, Alona Bondarenko had stretched Czink to a third set tiebreaker. Czink, 23, had also played doubles later, getting little time to regroup for Saturday. This is not to say that the left-handed Kostanic was lucky. The 24-year-old Croatian was clever and consistent through most of the 70-minute encounter. She did not give Czink pace, and the latter only had a flailing racquet to show some of her heavy topspin forehands and serves.
Kostanic faces third seeded Mara Santangelo of Italy or Vania King of the US in the final. Czink, who's been struggling with her serve, started the match getting broken. She came close to returning the gift the next game, but Kostanic held at deuce. Hacking those brawny, hunched-shoulder forehands and backhand slices, Kostanic devoured the first set. Czink, on the other hand, was sluggish in movement and sprayed her shots around.
The second set was different. Czink held her serve in the first game. Kostanic broke in the fifth game for 3-2, but Czink broke for 4-4 and the set reached the tiebreaker. Czink had summoned her mettle against Bondarenko in the tiebreaker. She couldn't repeat it against Kostanic.
First Published: Feb 19, 2006 01:57 IST