The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sania takes India to final
Indian tennis gold prospect Sania Mirza arrives at Hyderabad's Lal Bahadur Stadium before the team semi-final match

Hyderabad: Sania Mirza stamped her class en route to an authoritative straight sets victory over African Games gold medallist Clara Udofo as India booked place in the womenís team final of the inaugural Afro-Asian games Sunday.

Sania routed Clara 6-2, 6-2 in just under an hour after Rushmi Chakravarthy put the team ahead with a 6-0, 6-3 thrashing of Osaro Amadin in another one-sided match.

In the doubles, Sania and Rushmi had it easy against Clara and Osaro 6-4, 6-4 to give the hosts a 3-0 sweep.

Top seeded India meet Indonesia, who progressed to the final with a hard-fought 2-1 win against The Philippines in a marathon encounter.

Czarina Arevalo defeated Septi Mende 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 to put The Philippines ahead, but Sandy Gumulya capitalised on an off-colour Patricia Santos 7-6 (7-1), 6-1 to level scores.

In the doubles, Gumulya and Mende carved out a hard fought 7-5, 2-6, 7-5 win to keep their teamís billing intact.

Sania treated her home crowd to a belated Diwali feast with a superb allround display and was in total command barring a brief period in the second set.

A jubilant team captain Enrico Piperno said he was excited that India was close to winning an international event.

Sania, who has set her eyes on a top-200 berth, displayed some scintillating tennis with a good mix of powerful double handed backhand and her more potent forehand. She exhibited good court coverage and left her rival frustrated with passing shots and down the line winners on either side.

The Nigerian also committed a lot of unforced errors and a couple of double faults.

With the crowd backing her, Sania started off with a bang breaking Clara in the second game of the match and never looked back.

The only time she appeared in trouble in the set was in the seventh game when Clara held a break point, but with a superb inside out forehand, Sania averted danger. . (PTI)

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