India bite dust in first match against US in Hopman Cup

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Perth, Dec 29 (UNI) Sania Mirza returned to the international tennis circuit on a sour note with seventh seeded India being outplayed by higher rated United States in the first match of the Hopman Cup here today.

Sania went down fighting to Meghann Shaughnessy 3-6, 6-4, 3-6 in the first rubber before Rohan Bopanna lost tamely to Mardy Fish 2-6, 4-6 in the second to give the second seeded Americans unassailable 2-0 lead with mixed doubles left to play.

Sania could not find her rhythm early on but looked well set after taking the second set 6-4 to level the match.

But the Hyderabadi, ranked 31st, was outplayed by her American opponent, ranked 21 places below her, to lose the match in 132 minutes.

It was the fourth meeting on WTA tour between Shaughnessy and Sania, with the American leading 3-1. Sania had won the first battle in 2006 at San Diego, before Shaughnessy was victorious the same year in Bangkok and this year in Istanbul.

Rohan Bopanna failed to match the guiles of his Australian Open quarter-finalist opponent throughout the 72-minute match.

India will play Czech Republic and hosts Australia on January 1 and 3 respectively.

Eight countries are playing the round robin of two groups of four, with the winning team in each group playing in the final.

UNI

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