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Sania-Tecau fall at final hurdle

Melbourne, Jan 26, 2014, PTI: 0:25 IST
Sania and Horia Tecau with their runners-up trophies.
India’s Sania Mirza and her Romanian partner Horia Tecau failed to clinch the Australian Open mixed doubles title as they lost to the French-Canadian combination of Kristina Mladenovic and Daniel Nestor in straight sets in the summit clash here on Sunday.

Sania, who was gunning for her third mixed doubles Grand Slam title and second in Australian Open, and Tecau lost 3-6, 2-6 in a 58-minute contest at the Rod Laver Arena.

The French-Canadian pair were clearly the better side in all departments of the game.

Sania and Tecau, seeded sixth in the tournament, could not match up their opponents in service, return and rallies though they had lesser number of unforced errors.

Mladenovic and Nestor, who won the Wimbledon mixed doubles title last year, fended off all five break points they faced and broke the Sania-Tecau combination four times in the match.

The Indian dropped her last three service games to hand a comfortable victory to Mladenovic and Nestor.

Sania and Tecau had lost to the same opponents in the quarterfinals of the Wimbledon mixed doubles last year.

‘We were outplayed’

Sania admitted she and Tecau were “outplayed” but said she had a great tournament as she lost only to the best teams in her two events.

“We played the final against a team which had played four finals in the last four Grand Slams. They played very well, we could not do anything but we are happy we had a good tournament, made the finals of the first Grand Slam of the season,” said Sania.

Sania said Kristina’s blistering returns made a big impact on the match.

“At three-all, Mladenovic came up with two really big shots.. that kind of set the tone...until then it was even at 3-3, she hit those big returns after that the momentum swung a bit. They outplayed us really. We tried to do what we could but we should have taken our two or three chances but they had a great match,” Sania said, explaining the rout.

So, considering the tough opponents, is she happy with the end result? “No, I would love to win it but finishing as finalists in the first Grand Slam of the season is not bad either,” was her curt reply.

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