No. 3 seed Mirza, Morigami advance at Cincinnati

Updated: July 16, 2007, 10:08 PM ET
Associated Press

MASON, Ohio -- Third-seeded Sania Mirza shook off a slow start and rallied for a 6-4, 6-3 win over Abigail Spears on Monday night in the first round of the Cincinnati Women's Open.

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Mirza, who has reached the quarterfinals of the tournament the last two years, lost the first three games of the opening-round match against the 140th-ranked Spears.

In the first of the night matches, Lilia Osterloh jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first set and rolled to a 6-2, 6-3 win over Viktoriya Kutuzova. The win was Osterloh's first in four matches against Kutuzova -- the first two on clay and the third on Wimbledon's grass.

"Obviously, I'm more comfortable on the hardcourt," said Osterloh, ranked No. 112, 80 spots ahead of Kutuzova.

In Monday's only other main draw match, seventh-seeded Akiko Morigami outlasted Camille Pin 4-6, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (2).

Already a set down, Morigami fell behind 5-1 in the second-set tiebreaker before charging back to win.

"All of a sudden, I said, 'Hmm, I should start coming to the net,' and that seemed to work," said Morigami, who will play the winner of the first-round match between Anastasia Rudionova and Angelique Kerber. "I think I was lucky to win the match. It was hard for me to score. I definitely missed a lot of balls. I didn't execute my game plan."

Morigami fell behind 2-0 in the third set after having her serve broken in the second game. Morigami rallied and broke Pin's serve with back-to-back drop shots to take a 6-5 lead. Pin broke back by fighting off four match points in the 12th game to force the tiebreaker.

"I knew I wouldn't play my best tennis in the first round after Wimbledon and this being my first time back on hardcourt," said Morigami, who led eventual Wimbledon champion Venus Williams 5-3 in the third set of their third-round match before losing 7-5.

The tournament -- already plagued by the withdrawals of several players due to injuries, including Serena Williams, Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli, defending champion Vera Zvonareva and last year's runner-up, Katarina Srebotnik -- lost two more seeded players Monday.

Fourth-seeded and 41st-ranked Meilen Tu withdrew because of a wrist injury sustained when she played for the United States team in the Fed Cup last weekend. An undisclosed illness forced eighth-seeded Severine Bremond to withdraw.

Akgu Amanmuradova, Brenda Schultz-McCarthy, Anna Tatishvili, Anda Perianu, Iryna Kuryanovich and Monique Adamczak earned berths in the main draw through the qualifying tournament.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press