Sania enters Stanford final
Sania Mirza overcame a tough challenge from Austria's Sybille Bammer to book a berth in the final of the Bank of the West Classic tournament.
In a hard-fought three-setter on Saturday, Sania, playing her first semifinal at a Tier-II event, notched up a brilliant 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 win against the Austrian.
This victory, which helped the Indian ace reach her first tour final in two years, is likely to take Sania into the top 30 of world ranking for the first time in her career.
In Sunday's final, Sania will take on top-seeded and seventh ranked Anna Chakvetadze of Russia, who rallied to beat third-seeded Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-2 in the other semis clash.
Double delight was in store for Sania on Saturday. Playing as third seeds, the Hyderabadi and her Israeli partner Shahar Peer defeated Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan and Alla Kudryavtseva of Russia 6-3, 6-4 to reach the doubles final as well.
However, her valiant effort to make the singles final brought more cheers for Sania and the Indian No. 1 attributed the success to her mental strength.
"I started to feel tired late in the second set, then I regrouped. It was all mental. I told myself to hang in there," she said after the gruelling encounter.
"It's a great start to the hardcourt season. I've had great wins here and I'm starting to hit the ball better," said the eighth seed.
Sania bagged the first set in quick time. But after that Bammer fought back and the match became a clash of intelligence and stamina.