San Diego: Sania Mirza showed signs of her fine form with a straight-set victory over former world No. 11 Meghann Shaughnessy in the first round of the $1.3 million Acura Classic WTA Tour event here.
Sania, whose ranking has slipped to 44, posted a crisp 6-3, 6-1 win over Shaughnessy, who has four career titles to her credit, to sail into the second round of the US hard court event on Tuesday.
She next plays Katarina Srebotnik of Slovakia.
Second seed Maria Sharapova overcame a slow start against fellow Russian Vasilisa Bardina before reeling off 10 of the last 11 games to record a 6-4, 6-1 second-round win.
Earlier, eighth seed Martina Hingis marched into the third round with a 6-2, 6-3 win over American Meilen Tu.
In search of her first title of the summer hardcourt season, Sharapova fell 4-1 behind to the feisty 18-year-old qualifier before warming to the task of winning the match.
“I felt pretty good after she broke me early,” Sharapova said. “I felt like I made her play a little bit after that and when she was serving at 70 mph, I took advantage of that. I was moving well, seeing the ball well.”
Bardina surprised Sharapova when they began their warm-up by starting at the net and also called for a trainer to treat a shoulder injury when trailing 4-1 in the second set.
Two-time champion Hingis, who is making her first appearance at the tournament since 2001, mixed up her strokes adeptly against the veteran Tu in a routine victory.
It was the Swiss’ first match since she was upset in the third round of Wimbledon by Japan’s Ai Sugiyama at the end of June.
“Coming off a long layoff, it’s never easy,” the former world No. 1 said after her victory. “You feel like you can train forever, but once you get in a match you feel rusty. I didn’t play my best tennis, but it will come with matches.”
Hingis, who returned to the Tour in January after more than three years, was also presented with the tournament’s Corina Morariu Comeback Award.
“When the court announcer was talking all about my past and what I’ve achieved, it kind of read like a fairytale,” Hingis said. “It’s one part of my life, and then I was doing other things. Now I’m back here. I feel like a rookie more than a comeback.”
Other seeded winners included No. 7 Nicole Vaidisova of the Czech Republic, who destroyed Spain’s Virginia Ruano 6-1, 6-0. Number 11 Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia advanced when Czech Kveta Peschke retired with a thigh injury when trailing 6-1, 4-0.
Vera Zvonareva of Russia upended 13th seed Sugiyama 6-1, 7-5 in a first round tie, and Elena Vesnina of Russia took out No. 10 Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.