Melbourne, Jan 16 (IANS) India’s challenge in the singles event of the Australian Open ended on the opening day when Sania Mirza lost to Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria 4-6, 2-6 in the women’s singles first round.
Sania, playing her first major tournament after recovering from a knee injury, gave a tough fight to Pironkova in the first set while the second was a one-sided affair.
It was always going to be tough for 106th-ranked Sania against the World No.47. The Indian looked rusty, making 36 unforced errors in the match lasting 88 minutes.
Prior to the Open, Sania had played at the Auckland Classic where she lost in the qualifiers.
It was Sania’s third consecutive first round loss at Melbourne Park with her best result coming in the 2008 edition when she reached the third round.