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Sania loses Birmingham tennis semifinal


Birmingham: India’s Sania Mirza blew a set advantage against Slovakian Magdalena Rybarikova to go down 6-3, 0-6, 3-6 in the Aegon Classic tennis semifinal here Saturday.

Sania, who had beaten Rybarikova in their only meeting before, was appearing in only her second semifinal of the year. She had reached the Pattaya Open final in February.

The 22-year-old Hyderabadi, who played two matches Friday, recovered from a break down in the fourth game of the first set and then reeled off four games in a row for a 5-2 lead. She then comfortably served out the set in the ninth game.

The 20-year-old Slovak, however, staged a remarkable comeback in the second set, blanking an erring Sania to make it set-all.

Rybarikova carried the momentum into the third set, breaking the Indian early for 2-0 lead. However, this time around Sania broke back immediately to win her first game after losing eight straight.

But the Slovak broke back again in the eighth game for a 5-3 lead and then held her serve to win the set and the match.