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Old Feb 12th, 2005, 03:48 PM   #41
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Mirza becomes first Indian woman to win WTA Tour titleBy NARENDER REVELLI, Associated Press Writer
February 12, 2005

HYDERABAD, India (AP) -- Sania Mirza became the first Indian to win a WTA Tour title Saturday with a 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 victory over Alyona Bondarenko of Ukraine in the final of the Hyderabad Open.

Mirza, ranked 131st in the world, is a former Wimbledon junior doubles winner.

``I had a great tournament,'' Mirza, 18, said. ``The final could have gone either way.''

Bondarenko, ranked 107th, was seeking her first tour title.

``I was really nervous playing in a final, it turned out to be a tough one,'' Bondarenko said.

Playing an overall solid match in front of a boisterous home crowd, Mirza overcame a jittery start that saw her drop her first service with three double faults.

Recovering from an 0-2 deficit, Mirza took charge with whipping

forehands and moved to a 3-2 lead. She broke serve again in the ninth game and took the first set. Bondarenko came back and won the second set.

In the third set, Mirza broke Bondarenko in the first, third and fifth games and surged to 5-2 lead, but dropped her own service in the eighth game when she had two match points.

After firing two aces, Mirza was up 40-15 when she thought another ace for the match. The crowd cheered in celebration, but the referee said the serve brushed the net-cord. Rattled, Mirza lost the point, but broke Bondarenko again in the next game to clinch the title. Mirza's victory was worth $22,000.
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