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 Sania express halted by Rybarikova in Birmingham Semis

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PostSubject: Sania express halted by Rybarikova in Birmingham Semis   Tue Jun 16, 2009 6:45 pm

It was expected to be an all Asian affair at Birmingham as India'sSania Mirza won the first set in her match against SlovakianMagdalena Rybarikova with China's Na Li already having booked a place in Sunday's final with a win over Maria Sharapova.

However, a fantastic turnaround from the 20-year old Rybarikova saw her spoil a perfectly good script at the Aegon Classic handing Mirza a doughnut in the second set and overcoming a late rally from the Indian tennis star on the way to clinching a tight third set 6-3.

Mirza had beaten Rybarikova in their only previous meeting amazingly in her only other semi-final appearance of the year on the hard courts at Pattaya 6-4, 5-7, 6-1.

Sania started the match well hammering her first ace to close out the opening game. Sania had a sniff of a chance at 30-30 in Rybarikova's opening service game, but the Slovakian held firm to hang on to her serve.

A second double fault from Sania in the third game gave Rybarikova three break points, and the 20-year old needed just one, breaking the Mirza serve for a 2-1 lead.

The lead didn't last long as Mirza broke back for 2-2, before holding on to her own serve to 15, for a 3-2 lead.

Mirza continued to press home her advantage as she broke the Rybarikova serve again in the 6th game and made it four games in a row holding her serve to love to take a decisive 5-2 lead.

Rybarikova stemmed the run of games against her, finally holding on to serve for the first time in three games, but another strong service game from Sania handed the Indian star the first set 6-3 in just 27 minutes.

Sania continued to dominate the early exchanges in the second set and had two break points in the opening game. However Rybarikova showed the stomach for a fight as she held on to a crucial first service game.

Rybarikova broke the Mirza serve in the following game and played some smart tennis to hold on to her own serve for a three love lead.

Mirza lost the plot completely in the second set, dropping her serve on two further occasions, and only winning 14 of 41 points on her way to losing the set 6-0.

Rybarikova took the momentum into the third set holding on to her serve in a tight opening game before breaking the Mirza serve for the fifth time in the match for a 2-0 lead. Rybarikova had rattled off eight games in a row in what was an absolutely amazing turnaround.

Like a giant awoken from her slumber Sania finally registered herself on the scoreboard for the first time in 40 minutes breaking straight back to love, indicating there was still some life left in this contest.

A crucial fourth game in the context of the match went to deuce, but Mirza held her nerve and her serve.

After Rybarikova slipped in a tight service game, Mirza was in trouble again on her serve, but saved a couple of break points on her way to leveling the set at 3-3.

Rybarikova showed her class serving out a love game to put the pressure straight back on Mirza who was serving behind in the set.

Mirza couldn't handle it as Rybarikova produced another outstanding game to break the Mirza serve and pull ahead 5-3. Rybarikova settled the match on her first match point to end a disappointing afternoon for the Indian.


Earlier in the day Chinese star Na Li booked a place in the final getting the better of former Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova for the first time in six attempts, in straight sets 6-4, 6-4.

Sharapova served an exceptional 87% in the opening set, yet dropped her serve on two occasions, while breaking just the once herself.
Both players struggled to hold on to their serves in the second set as they broke each other on 7 occasions out of the 10 games played. Li was able to hold serve on that one extra occasion that mattered to close out the match in a shade under an hour and a half.

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Sania express halted by Rybarikova in Birmingham Semis
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