Mirza wins 3-hour match in Stanford

July 25, 2007 10:27 AM
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- Sania Mirza jumped for joy at mid-court when her winning forehand fell untouched.

India's top tennis player has a large fan base in the Bay Area and the group made sure their cheers, hoots and hollers were heard.

Mirza rallied from a tough first set to defeat Akiko Morigami, 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (5), in a first-round match at the Bank of the West Classic on Tuesday.

"I always love to come to a big stadium and hear them,'' Mirza said of her supporters. "The crowd really got me going.''

Morigami played in the final at Cincinnati on Sunday and Mirza was a semifinalist there on Saturday. They both had plenty of energy for the match that lasted more than three hours.

"The whole match was a matter of a couple points either way,'' Mirza said. "(Morigami) is in good form and playing well. She didn't miss. I had to try and change my game plan.''

Mirza, who underwent right knee surgery in March and missed 10 weeks, required a medical timeout near the end of the third set, although it was due to cramping in her left quad.

"I would never call for a trainer at 6-5 in the third set if I didn't have to,'' Mirza said. "I started to feel it when I served and I noticed I was sweating and very tight.''

Mirza received treatment following the match.

Sixth-seeded Tatiana Golovin and eighth-seeded Sybille Bammer were early first-round winners Tuesday, and fifth-seeded Shahar Peer beat qualifier Camille Pin 7-6 (5), 6-2 in the late match.

Golovin, who won her first career WTA Tour title at Amelia Island earlier in the year, topped qualifier Viktoriya Kutuzova 6-2, 6-2. Bammer, who also won her first tour championship at Pattaya City, beat 29th-ranked Ai Sugiyama 6-4, 6-2.

"I had to try and get into a rhythm,'' Golovin said. "I knew I had to get the ball in and force her to make mistakes.''

The 19th-ranked Golovin has been slowed by a right ankle injury since April. She returned to the court at Wimbledon, reaching the second round. Golovin will meet Mirza in the next round.

"I'll see how my ankle holds up,'' Golovin said. "I still think about it but hopefully it is a done deal.''

The 22nd-ranked Bammer, who reached the fourth round of the French Open, improved to 10-4 on hard courts. Bammer will take on Meilen Tu in the second round.

In other first-round matches, Maria Kirilenko bested Victoria Azarenka 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 in her first match since injuring her ankle; qualifier Olga Govortsova beat wild-card Catalina Castano 6-4, 6-2, and qualifier Yaroslava Shvedova eliminated Julia Vakulenko 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Govortsova has won three of four matches and improved to a career-best ranking of 100 this week. She'll play Peer next.

Shvedova has won eight of her nine matches on hardcourts, including her first tour victory at Bagalore. She will play fourth-seeded Patty Schnyder, who reached the finals at this event last year.