Thu, Jul 26, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Mirza defeats Morigami in three-hour marathon


Sania Mirza of India reacts after beating Akiko Morigami of Japan 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (5) in the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, California, on Tuesday.


Sania Mirza jumped for joy at midcourt when her last forehand fell untouched, completing a 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (5) win over Akiko Morigami at the Bank of West Classic.

India's top tennis player has a large fan base in the Bay Area and the group made sure their cheers, hoots and hollers were heard in her first-round match on Tuesday.

"I always love to come to a big stadium and hear them," Mirza said of her supporters. "The crowd really got me going."

Morigami played in the final at Cincinnati on Sunday and Mirza was a semi-finalist there on Saturday. They both had plenty of energy for the match, which lasted more than three hours.

"The whole match was a matter of a couple points either way," Mirza said. "[Morigami] is in good form and playing well. She didn't miss. I had to try and change my game plan."

Mirza, who underwent right knee surgery in March and missed 10 weeks, required a medical timeout near the end of the third set, although it was due to cramping in her left quad.

"I would never call for a trainer at 6-5 in the third set if I didn't have to," Mirza said. "I started to feel it when I served and I noticed I was sweating and very tight."

Sixth-seeded Tatiana Golovin and eighth-seeded Sybille Bammer were early first-round winners.

Golovin, who won her first career WTA Tour title at Amelia Island earlier in the year, topped qualifier Viktoriya Kutuzova 6-2, 6-2.

Bammer, who also won her first tour championship at Pattaya City, beat 29th-ranked Ai Sugiyama 6-4, 6-2.

Roddick rolls past wild card

Andy Roddick rolled past wild card Alex Kuznetsov 6-4, 6-0 in the first round of the Indianapolis Tennis Championships on Tuesday.

The top-seeded Roddick didn't face a break point, and improved his record on the hardcourts of the Indianapolis Tennis Center to 17-2.

"I actually don't think I served that well," said Roddick, who had a first-serve percentage of 52 percent (22-of-42), but won 86 percent of those he put in play.

The two-time Indianapolis champion, who was the runner-up to James Blake last year, had eight aces and no double faults.

In earlier matches, No. 3 seed Dmitry Tursunov and No. 4 Mardy Fish advanced to the second round.

"I was playing clean tennis. I wasn't giving away points. He was having to force the issue and I think that caught up with him," said Roddick, who will play Evgeny Korolev in the second round.

Defending champion and No. 2 seed Blake, coming off an upset in the final of last week's ATP stop in Los Angeles, squeezed by Swedish veteran Thomas Johansson 7-5, 7-6 (9).

Moya ousts defending champ

Defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka was eliminated in the first round of the Croatia Open by former four-time winner Carlos Moya 6-3, 6-2 on Tuesday.

Also, the return of local star Ivan Ljubicic as the third seed lasted only two hours as he lost to Andrei Pavel of Romania 7-6 (5), 7-5 for the first time in six years. Ljubicic, a two-time champ on the tour this year, was making his first appearance in Umag since 2002.

"I am also very pleased with my form," sixth-seeded Moya said.

In the absence of Rafael Nadal, who stopped Moya in the last eight at Roland Garros, Moya quipped, "Now I can win" in Umag, where he triumphed in 1996, 2001, 2002 and 2003. Moya has a record of 39-8 in Umag.

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