Sania Mirza and Cara Black got their women’s doubles campaign at the French Open to a smooth start, ousting Daniela Hantuchova and Shahar Peer in straight sets 6-3, 6-3 to reach the second round of the tournament.
The match began late due to some practice overruns on Court 11, but Sania and Cara wasted no time. They broke serve in the second game to surge ahead in the first set, 2-0. Though Hantuchova and Peer broke right back to bring the set back on serve, the Indo-Zimbabwean duo restored control by winning the next two games to take a 4-1 lead.
The fifth seeds consolidated their grip on the set when they broke their opponents for the third straight game for a 5-1 lead. The game was fast paced but the quality of play was far from consistent – Sania and Cara failed to serve out the set and their unseeded opponents took advantage to inch closer at 3-5.
Having gathered themselves, the experienced fifth seeded duo survived a couple of edgy moments at 30-30 before taking the set without any further damage.
The Slovakian and the Israeli fell deeper into the hole when they lost their serve at the beginning of the second set. Sania and Black consolidated their hold on the match with a handy 2-0 lead in the second set.
Constantly under pressure, Hantuchova and Peer saved another break point in the third game. But then they wasted a game point and the dominant fifth seeded duo took the next two points to gain a 3-0 lead. As they did in the first, Hantuchova and Peer though fought back with a break in the fourth game as they clawed back to 2-3.
Any hopes of a comeback by the trailing duo were dissipated quickly when they were broken again in the seventh game, leaving the fifth seeds needing only to serve to take victory. Serving for the match, Sania and Cara dropped to 0-40 and lost the game on the next point to remain on the court at 5-3. But Hantuchova and Peer struggled to hold serve throughout the match – at 15-40 in the ninth game, they offered two match points to the seeded duo.
Sania and Black failed to take the first, but converted the second to end the 69 minute contest 6-3, 6-3 and progress to the next round. Their opponents in that match will be the winners of the match between Ajla Tomlianovic & Shuai Zhang against Gabriela Dabrowski & Alicja Rosolska.Published 29 May 2014, 16:57 IST