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Old Feb 13th, 2005, 11:00 AM   #43
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Mirza Makes History with Title Win at Home

HYDERABAD, India - She certainly made her country proud. Ranked No.134 and playing in only her fifth Sony Ericsson WTA Tour main draw, 18-year-old local favorite Sania Mirza became the first Indian woman to win a Tour singles title.

After winning the $140,000 Hyderabad Open, it was reported that Mirza, who hails from Hyderabad, was congratulated by India's Congressional President, Sonia Gandhi, who watched the match.

Mirza, who made an impression at the Australian Open three weeks ago by becoming the first Indian woman to reach the third round at a Grand Slam, upset No.9 seed Alyona Bondarenko of Ukraine, 64 57 63, in the final.

In a first-time meeting, both finalists were making debuts in a Tour singles championship match. Last year, Mirza won the doubles title with Liezel Huber in her first Tour final.

Mirza showed promise last year when she won the Wimbledon junior title and since then has jumped from No.377 in the world to inside the Top 150.

Bondarenko is also making moves up the ranks, currently at a career-high No.102. Last year, at this time, she was No.187, and just last week, she played her first Tour quarterfinal in Pattaya City.

In the doubles, it was an all-Chinese affair, with No.3 seeds Zi Yan and Jie Zheng upsetting Olympic gold medalists and No.2 seeds Ting Li and Tiantian Sun, 64 61.

Playing in their third Tour doubles final together, champions Yan and Zheng won their second Tour doubles title, adding to their first crown at Hobart earlier this year. They avenged their 2003 Vienna doubles final loss to Li and Sun, who were runners-up at this event last year.
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