New York: India's Sania Mirza lost a thrilling women's singles first round match while compatriots Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi along with Rohan Bopanna and his Pakistan partner Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi entered the second round of the men's doubles in the US Open Tennis Championships.
Playing in a packed court 17, Sania and her former doubles partner Shahar Peer engaged themselves in a fierce baseline exchange before the 23rd-seeded Israeli prevailed in the latter stages of the match to win 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-1 after more than a two-hour see-saw battle Tuesday. It was Peer's second win over Sania in their six meetings.
The Israeli was quick to take a 3-1 lead in the first set but Sania, with her blistering returns of serve, broke back to enforce a tie-breaker.
The 64th-ranked Indian again trailed in the tie-breaker but soon levelled the scores at 5-5 with a down-the-line-forehand shot. Two points later, a forehand error from Peer gave Sania the opening set.
The Indian, however, slumped to errors and her first-serve percentage, too, dropped drastically. She hit five double faults and 19 unforced errors in the second set. A missed forehand passing shot gave Peer a 4-2 lead and even though Sania did well to fend off two set points at 5-2 and 5-3, she could not stop Peer from making it a set all.
The Indian then fizzled out in the decider and Peer sprinted to a 4-0 lead before closing the set and the match.
In the men's doubles, fourth-seeded Paes and Bhupathi saw off a stiff fight from Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine and Albert Ramos of Spain to prevail 7-6(8), 6-4 in the first round. They now await the winner of the match between Florian Mayer of Germany and Rogier Wassen of the Netherlands and Frenchmen Marc Gicquel and Gael Monfils.
The fifth-seeded and last year's finalists Bopanna and Qureshi, too, survived a few anxious moments before pulling off a 6-1, 2-6, 6-2 victory over Americans Robby Ginepri and Rhyne Williams in the opening round.
They now play the winner of the match between Americans Travis Parrott and Bobby Reynolds and James Cerretani of the US and Philipp Marx of Germany.