Super Sania surges into quarters

Ace Indian scores straight-set win over Lisicki; Somdevs run comes to an end

India’s Sania Mirza serves en route to her win against Germany’s Sabine Lisicki during their Family Circle Cup match on Thursday. Reuters

It is Sania’s first WTA Tour quarterfinal since San Diego in August 2007. The Indian, who came through the qualifiers, now plays 11th-seeded Chinese Shua Peng, who defeated seventh seed Russian Nadia Petrova 6-3, 5-7, 6-2.

In their only meeting before Thursday, Sania was beaten by the German over three sets in Auckland in the run-up to the Australian Open in January.

Lisicki came into the match against Sania after stunning World No 12 and fourth-seeded Marion Bartoli in the pre-quarterfinals.

“We played once before, in Auckland just before the Australian Open, and I lost 7-6 in the third. So, I knew it was going to be a tough match. Obviously, Sabine was coming in after beating Bartoli, and I had a tough match also,” Sania said.

“My body is pretty tired. I’ve been playing since Saturday every day, having to come through qualies and playing doubles as well, so I haven’t really had a day off. I’ve had a few niggles in my body now, but I’m happy to come through a match like that, where I think I could have played better. It’s always good to come through your matches when you aren’t playing your best,” Sania added.

Sania, who was once ranked World No 27, said she is close to being her best. “I would like to hope I am. I feel like I’m close to my best now. I was Top 30 two years ago. With my wrist injury it has been a tough couple of years and I’m just happy to be healthy again. I couldn’t even hold a fork last year for five months. And to be back playing tennis, it’s like a new life — to be winning is a bonus.”

Somdev crashes out

India’s Somdev Devvarman failed to reach the quarterfinal of the US Men’s Clay Court Championship after losing to third-seeded Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain 4-6, 1-6.
Having had a good run in the hardcourt events at Indian Wells and Miami, Somdev registered a solid opening round victory over American Robert Kendrick but the clay-court specialist Garcia-Lopez proved too strong for him.

The third-seeded and world number 26 Garcia-Lopez, who got a bye in his first round overcame five double-faults before getting the better of the Indian in one hour and 27 minutes and book a berth in the last eight stage.

The Spaniard started on a positive note, breaking Somdev’s serve in the fourth game to lead the first set 4-1. Somdev, though broke back immediately but eventually lost control in the tenth game and gave away the set 4-6.

The second set turned out to be a lop-sided affair as Garcia-Lopez stole a series of games to set up a quarterfinal clash with Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay.

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