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Sania loses to Petrova

Last updated on: January 21, 2009 14:41 IST

Sania Mirza crashed out of the Australian Open singles event after being hammered in straight sets by Russian 10th seed Nadia Petrova in the second round in Melbourne on Wednesday.

World number 11 Petrova took just 70 minutes to beat the 22-year-old Sania 6-3, 6-2, also bringing down the curtains on India's singles challenge in the process. 

Although disappointed with the loss, Sania said she was relieved to be back on the court after being out for months due to a career-threatening wrist injury. 

"I'm just happy to be back and doing what I love doing, playing tennis and competing. There was a big crowd out there and I haven't played like that for six months," she said. 

"Of course I'm disappointed at losing but I will try and take positives from this. I will try and get into the top 30, of course, but the last five or six months have taught me to live for the moment so I don't want to get ahead of myself." 

Sania and Petrova had faced each other twice earlier and the record stood 1-1 before Wednesday.

Petrova, whose best at the Australian Open has been reaching the quarterfinals in 2006, broke Sania in the fourth game of the first set to take a 3-1 lead.

Petrova consolidated the lead to 4-1 by holding her serve in the next game and the set went on serve from there in favour of the Russian.

Sania did well to save another break and edge closer to the Russian at 3-5 but Petrova managed to take the first set after an unforced error by Sania.

Sania also had her share of chances and her first breakpoint -- earned through a beautiful service return winner -- came in in the third game of the first set but Petrova served well to save the game. 

Sania engaged her opponent in long rallies, did show that she had a plan to set up points, but lacked in execution. 

"When you're playing the world number 10 you expect her to raise her game under pressure and that is exactly what she did," Sania said later. 

"I was a break up and I played a decent match but I still have a lot to work on," she added.

The second set saw Petrova assert her authority and a combination of four aces, five points won at the net and three forehand winners saw her easily clinch the set and match. 

Sania got an early chance to break Petrova when she had two breakpoints in the fourth game. But the Russian served extremely well to deny the Indian any chance of a comeback into the match.

Petrova broke Sania in the fifth and seventh games to take a 5-2 lead before serving out the set and match with the help of a couple of aces.

"There are no excuses. I could blame it on a lack of match practice time, or on playing the world number 10. I had a sore stomach as well," she said.

"But at the end of the day I have to give her credit."

Petrova now plays Kazakhstan's Galina Voskoboeva, who beat Karin Knapp in straight sets, 6-4, 6-1.

Sania now will play in women's doubles with American Vania King and in mixed doubles with compatriot Mahesh Bhupathi.