Dubai, Feb 27: Sania Mirza made it to the second round of the Dubai Duty Free tennis championships with what turned out to be a comfortable victory against Russian qualifier Vera Dushevina.
Mirza, who was cheered on by a vociferous crowd, made hard work of the first set , breaking her Russian opponent three times in a row, only to see her broken back with the very next game. stuttering first serve and a string of unforced errors didn't help the crowd favourite, as Vera forced the first set into a tie-break. Mirza's woes continued into the tie-break, losing two points in a row on her serve, but she finally found her rhythm and battled back with some impressive ground strokes to take the tie-break 7-5.
The trading of breaks continued into the second set when Dushevina dominated the Mirza serve to win the first game (the seventh broken serve in a row), and then bucked the trend by holding to love to take a 2-0 lead.
The Indian then battled hard to hold serve in game three before pouncing on some unforced errors to break back.
Her Russian opponent visibly wilted at this point, and Mirza clearly grew in confidence, reeling off five games in a row.
The highlight of the match coming in the final game of the set when Mirza showed a glimpse of her talent in pulling Dushevina back and forth across the court before smashing home a cross court winner.
That point set up match-point, which she duly wrapped up to win the match 7-6, 6-2.