Sania Mirza crashed out of the AIG Japan Open on Thursday, losing 4-6, 4-6 to good friend Flavia Pennetta of Italy in the quarterfinals.
Mirza, seeded second at the WTA Tier III event in Tokyo, couldn’t find her rhythm against the eighth-seeded Pennetta – whom she had beaten in straight sets in their only previous meeting at the Open Gaz de France, Paris in February 2006.
Mirza actually led 2-0 in the first set before Pennetta broke back and the momentum swung her way, enabling the Italian to serve for the set at 5-4.
A crucial double-fault by Mirza, which gave Pennetta the break and a 4-3 lead in the second set sealed the match in the Italian’s favour.
It was Mirza’s 17th loss on the WTA Tour this year as opposed to 30 wins. Her run to the singles quarterfinals earned the 20-year-old Hyderabadi $7105 and 65 WTA points.
Mirza’s doubles campaign at the tournament with American partner Christina Fusano also came to an end after the duo withdrew citing an abdominal strain before their quarterfinal match against second seeds Sun TianTian and Zi Yan of China.