| Sania Mirza in action at the US Open on Thursday
New York: Sania Mirza flattered to deceive once again as she bowed out of the US Open women’s singles with a three-set loss to Francesca Schiavone of Italy in the second round here on Thursday.
Sania started strongly before fading out, losing 7-5, 1-6, 2-6 to the 14th seed in the year’s final Grand Slam at the Flushing Meadows. The Italian tamed Sania in two hours and 20 minutes to advance to the third round.
Sania stands to gain 38 WTA Tour points from her first round success and a potential second round prize money of $51,000. But it might still hurt her rankings, as she would be losing 140 points that she had won by reaching the quarter finals last year.
Second seed Justine Henin-Hardenne gave rising American teenager Vania King a lesson, beating her 6-1, 6-2 to reach the third round.
Former world No. 1 Lindsay Davenport crushed Croatia’s Jelena Kostanic 6-0, 6-0 in 40 minutes on Thursday to race into the third round.
Sania’s encounter against Schiavone saw the first set being a see-saw battle where Schiavone rallied from being 1-4 down to go 5-4 up in the first set. The Hyderabadi girl, however, held her nerves to retain her serve for 5-5 and broke her opponent in the next game by earning triple breakpoints.
Sania appeared to be on a roll as she garnered three set points and rounded off the set in style. But the second set turned out to be a disaster. Schiavone broke Sania three times to mark a complete turnaround in the match.
Sania had a break of her own but 14 unforced errors including three double faults undermined her chances. An 80 per cent first serve in that second set showed the Italian in regal form.
In the second game of the decider, Sania had five breakpoints but could take none of it. That was symbolic of the Indian’s play on Thursday as she converted only four of the 15 breakpoints that came her way.
Henin-Hardenne, champion in 2003, was close to her imperious best, hammering 22 winners as she cruised to victory in just over an hour.
On Wednesday, Roger Federer and Amelie Mauresmo played like champs and former winners Serena Williams and Martina Hingis also advanced.
Federer, Lleyton Hewitt won in straight sets (as reported in Thursday’s Late City edition). Andy Roddick’s 6-3, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 win over Kristian Pless of Denmark was Wednesday’s only second-round match.
The top-seeded Federer rebounded from a startling loss two weeks ago to overwhelm Wang Yeu-tzuoo of Taiwan 6-4, 6-1, 6-0.
Women’s No. 1 seed Mauresmo beat No. 131 Kristina Barrois of Germany 6-1, 7-5. Serena cruised, beating Lourdes Dominguez Lino of Spain 6-1, 6-2 and drawing a big ovation at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Maria Sharapova compiled 33 winners to only 13 unforced errors and breezed to a 6-3, 6-0 victory over Michaella Krajicek, the younger sister of 1996 Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek.