Mirza reaches WTA final by beating Sybille Bammer

LATE DRAMA: The up-and-coming Indian earned a key break in the third set, held serve to get to 5-3 and broke her opponent again to secure an important win


Mon, Jul 30, 2007 - Page 18

India's Sania Mirza reached the final of the US$600,000 WTA Bank of the West Classic on Saturday with a three-set victory over eighth-seeded Sybille Bammer.

Mirza topped Austria's Bammer -- her third seeded victim in a row -- 6-2, 5-7, 6-3.

In the final she'll get a shot at playing top-seeded Russian Anna Chakvetadze, who beat No. 3 seed Slovakian Daniel Hantuchova 6-7 (6/8), 6-3, 6-2

Mirza, ranked 35th in the world, reached her first final since Forest Hills in August 2005. Before beating Bammer, she ousted fourth-seeded Patty Schnyder of Switzerland in the quarter-finals and sixth-seeded Tatiana Golovin of France in the second round.

"It's a great start to the hardcourt season," Mirza said. "I've had great wins here and I'm starting to hit the ball better."

Mirza, who seems fully recovered from a knee injury that sidelined her for almost two-and-a-half months earlier this year, earned a key break in the third set to take a 4-3 advantage. After holding serve to get to 5-3, Mirza broke Bammer again to secure the win.

"I tried to be more aggressive in the third set and play like I did in the first set," she said. "I started to feel tired late in the second set and then I regrouped. It was all mental. I told myself to hang in there and I did."

"In the second set she was a little shaky, a little nervous," Bammer said. "But in the third set she played great tennis. She played deep and I couldn't move her."

This will be Mirza's first Tier II final appearance. In her only career singles win, she captured the title at Hyderabad (Tier IV) in 2005 and became the first player from India to win a WTA title.

In Chakvetadze she'll face a player who has won eight consecutive hardcourt matches and is in position to capture her second straight singles title.

Chakvetadze, 20, has also won two tournaments this season.