Tokyo, Oct 4: Sania Mirza's return to court after a brief injury lay off proved uninspiring as she was knocked out of Japan Open by lower ranked Italian Flavia Pennetta 4-6, 4-6 in the quarter-finals here today.
The 20-year-old Hyderabadi, squanderd a good start -- a 2-0 lead in the first set -- but lowered down her guard to lose the next four points on the trot in the Tier III 175,000 dollar WTA event.
The 29th-ranked Indian, seeded second here, found it difficult to stop the slide in the second set and lost to eight seed Pennetta in an duel that lasted an hour and 19 minutes.
Sania, though, is still in the race in the doubles and she and her American partner Christina Fusano will take on the challenge of second seeded Chinese pair of Tiantian Sun and Zi Yan for a place in the semi-final.
The Indo-American pair had beaten Polish-Romanian duo of Urszula Radwanska and Agnes Szatmari in straight sets in the opening round.