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Sania off to flying start at French Open

Last updated on: May 23, 2011 18:58 IST

Desperate to improve her Grand Slam record, Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza began her French Open campaign with an impressive 6-3, 6-3 victory over Kristina Barrois in the first round of the women's singles, in Paris, on Monday.

The world No 72 Indian ace, who has never gone beyond the second round at Roland Garros, put up a clinical performance against the 57-ranked German, who enjoyed a career-best ranking of 57 till a couple of weeks back but has now slumped to 73.

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Sania, whose left leg was strapped just below the knee, completed victory with a backhand winner after 75 minutes on court number six.

Sania MirzaSania has not been able to cross the second round hurdle in the Grand Slams since 2009 and a fourth round appearance at the US Open in 2005 remains her best performance.

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She next faces either 12th seed Polish Agnieszka Radwanska or Austria's Patricia Mayr-Achleitner.

The clay-court surface is not to Sania's liking, but the Indian looked quite comfortable against her opponent and played with a lot of confidence.

She was aggressive and thus committed a lot of unforced errors, struggling with her first serve, but, overall, her game was so dominating that Kristina had no clue how to stop the Hyderabadi.

Sania hit 28 winners to Kristina's 10 but seven doubles-faults, compared to three by the German, blemished her scorecard.

A break of serve in the fourth game put Sania ahead 3-1 and after saving two break-points in the next game, the Indian had no difficulty in pocketing the first set.

Sania went for her shots and some of her forehand winners were outstanding. She hit 13 winners to Kristina's three in the 34-minute opening set.

After both the players saved a break-point each at the start of the second set, again it was Sania who grabbed the lead by breaking in the third game.

The two traded breaks in the sixth and seventh games. But, after saving two break-points in the eighth, Sania broke Kristina for the final time in the next game to seal a place in the second round.