| Sania is looking ahead with optimism
Stanford: Sania Mirza set up a dream clash with Wimbledon champion Venus Williams after clinching a hard-fought victory over big-serving Eleni Daniilidou of Greece in the first round of $585,000 WTA Tour event in Stanford on Tuesday.
The 18-year-old adopted an aggressive approach and was rewarded with a well-earned 7-6, 2-6, 6-3 victory over 58th-ranked Daniilidou, who upset French Open champion Justine Henin-Hardenne at Wimbledon last month.
Sania was beaten in the final round of qualifying but slipped into the draw when Chanda Rubin pulled out with an injury.
Daniilidou owns one of the tour’s biggest serves but Mirza had few problems picking it up.
“She’s a very good player, but I broke her quite a few times,” Sania said.
“She has big serve, but you have to know how to handle it. I read it very well.”
Sania now faces the daunting prospect of facing Venus, but the plucky Indian remains positive ahead of the clash.
“I played Serena at the Australian Open and was a little bit nervous there, but I’m looking at playing Venus as an opportunity,” she said.
“She’s one of the best players in the world but no one is unbeatable,” Sania said.
In another surprise result, Russian fifth seed Vera Zvonareva continued her run of poor form with a lacklustre 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 defeat at the hands of American qualifier Meghann Shaughnessy.
With her win over Zvonareva, Shaughnessy set up a second round clash with world number 26 Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia, who thrashed American wild card Alexandra Stevenson 6-2 6-1.