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Crown for Sania & Cara

Sania Mirza

Oeiras: Sania Mirza and Cara Black notched up their first title of the season with a hard-fought 6-4, 6-3 win over Eva Hrdinova and Valeria Solovyeva in the final of the Portugal Open, here, on Saturday.

The top-seeded Indo-Zimbabwean pair, playing their third final of the season, was tested by the Czech-Russian team in the summit clash, which lasted one hour and 18 minutes. Sania and Cara had ended runners-up at Indian Wells in March and at Stuttgart event, last week.

Courtesy an early break, the top seeds raced to a 3-1 lead in the opening set but Eva and Valeria raised their game by a few notches to not only break their rivals back but also snatched lead by the seventh game.

Stunned by the fight back of the Czech-Russian pair, Sania and Cara broke Eva and Valeria in the eighth game to make it 4-4 and one more time in the 10th to pocket the first set.

After trading a break each, the two pairs were 3-3 in the second set.

A double fault by Cara put the top seeds down a breakpoint but they saved it to be up 4-3. They broke their rivals in the next game and Sania served out the match in the ninth game.

Sania and Cara shared euro 9,919 as prize money and earned 280 ranking points each for the win.

On Friday, Sania and Cara registered a 6-4, 6-3 victory over third-seeded American pair of Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond in an hour and 14 minutes.

First set saw the Indo-Zimbabwean pair struggle a bit, as they could convert only three of the eight breakpoints they got but they managed to held their nerves to finally win it.

In the second set, two decisive breaks of serve enabled Sania and Cara to wrap up the match comfortably in their favour.

In the singles, top seed Tomas Berdych lived up to his billing on Saturday with a 6-2, 6-2 hammering of Romanian Victor Hanescu which took the Czech into the final.

Berdych, playing on a wild card, will compete in his third final of the season after Rotterdam and Dubai when he faces the winner from Argentine Carlos Berlocq and Daniel Gimeno-Traver of Spain.

"The first step is there, I'm in the final," said the winner. "Now it would be really great to win this title. It's always a pleasure to be competing at the end of a week. Every final counts and I'm really looking forward to this one."

Berdych needed just 72 minutes to defeat Hanescu in a match which he made it all look easy after struggling in the previous round.