The Gisela Dulko syndrome continued to haunt Sania Mirza as the Indian number one fell to her Argentinian nemesis in the first round of the Kremlin Cup on Tuesday.
The 6-3, 6-4 defeat at Moscow’s Olympic Stadium was Mirza’s third straight loss to Dulko in WTA tour meetings. And she hasn’t been able to take a set off the 41st-ranked player yet.
Though Mirza had a better first serve percentage than Dulko at Moscow (63 to 58), she also committed nine doublefaults, which ultimately proved too costly in the 85-minute match.
The loss was Mirza’s 18th out of a total of 48 matches on the WTA Tour this year.
Mirza had lost to Italy’s Flavia Pennetta in the quarterfinals of the Japan Open last week in only her third match since the US Open.
But the 20-year-old had better luck in the evening at the Moscow doubles event, where she partnered Switzerland’s Patty Schnyder to easily beat Vera Dushevina of Russia and Tatiana Perebiynis of Ukraine 6-1, 6-3 in less than an hour.
In the quarterfinals, Mirza and Schnyder will be pitted against top seeds Cara Black of Zimbabwe and Liezel Huber of the US.
There is hope yet as Mirza, ranked 20th in doubles, had beaten the world’s best pair in the New Haven final in August – in partnership with Italy’s Mara Santangelo.