Sania clears first hurdle at Aus Open qualifiers

Melbourne, Jan 14 (PTI) Sania Mirza moved to the secondround of the Australian Open qualifiers with a straight-setwin over Belarusian Iryna Kuryanovich here today.

Ranked 145 on the WTA circuit, Sania scored a 6-4 6-2 winover Kuryanovich, ranked 61 places below the Indian, in theopening round of the women''s singles qualifiers.

Sania broke her rival, playing her first Australian Open,twice in the closely fought first set and also dropped herserve once.

The Indian continued to struggle with her serve and facedfour breakpoints in the second set but managed to save threeof them.

The Belarusian was equally erratic and had to contendwith seven breakpoints out which Sania converted three andsealed the win in one hour and nine minutes.

Sania will next face Russia''s Vitalia Diatchenko.

Due to injuries and slump in form, Sania''s rankingsuffered in 2010 and she was forced to go through thequalifiers.

Her one of th best performances in Grand Slams came atAustralian Open when she reached the third round in 2005 and2008.

Last year Sania had made a first round exit here.

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