Sania Mirza saw her US Open hopes come crashing down on Tuesday when she lost a second-round tie 6-2, 6-4 to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia.
The 23-year-old from Hyderabad, who is battling back after dropping out of the world top 100 due to a serious wrist injury, had raised hopes with a fine run of four wins in a row in New York coming through the qualifiers and a first-round tie against Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal.
But in the 20th-seeded Pavlyuchenkova, who has two title wins this year and who reached the semi-finals in Cincinnati in the buildup to New York, she came up against a big hitter who is targetting the world top 10 this year.
Mirza was quickly a break of serve down at 2-3 before squandering two break points in the sixth game with some wayward shot-making when it mattered most.
The 19-year-old Pavlyuchenkova made her pay the price by holding for 4-2 and then breaking serve again. The Russian comfortably served out for the set in just 32 minutes.
Mirza kept pace on serve until 3-2 in the second set and was given fresh hope when her opponent needed a medical timeout for treatment to her right forearm.
She immediately grabbed her chance by breaking Pavlyuchenkova for the second time in the match to establish a 4-2 lead.
Sadly for the Indian player, she promptly dropped her own serve in the next game.
That proved to be fatal for Mirza as the Russian pounded her into submission by winning the next three games to reach the third round.
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