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Sania gets easy first round in Bangalore Open

Mirza will kickstart her title defence against a relatively easy opponent in the first round of the Bangalore Open.

india Updated: Feb 12, 2006 13:58 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Sania Mirza will kickstart her title defence against a relatively easy opponent in world number 104 Martina Muller of Germany in the first round of the $175,000 the Bangalore Open starting here on Monday.

The 19-year-old, who had won the event at her hometown of Hyderabad last year, should be able to cross the first hurdle without much difficulty at the Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association courts.

However, compatriots Ankita Bhambri, ranked 361, and Rushmi Chakravarty (370), both wild card entrants, are pitted against strong opponents as per the draw in the the Sony Ericsson WTA Tier III event.

Ankita is clashing with Kaia Kanepi (94) of Estonia, who was a semi-finalist at the Sunfeast Tier III WTA event at Kolkata in September last year.

Rushmi meets Hungary's Melinda Czink (119), who had reached the quarter-final at the Kolkata event beating Sania.

The third Indian wild-card entry in the main draw, Isha Lakhani (482), would fight it out with a qualifier to secure a second round berth.

The winner takes home $28,000 and collects 120 points.

The event has failed to generate any pre-tournament excitement and a build-up appears to be glaringly missing, in sharp contrast to last year's spectacle at Hyderabad that evoked considerable interest.

Organisers Globosport, the sports management company set up by doubles specialist Mahesh Bhupathi, are expecting Sania to pull in the crowds.

First Published: Feb 12, 2006 13:44 IST