Wild card Sania Mirza came back from the brink to beat Ukrainian Mariya Koryttseva in a gruelling three-setter and enter the second round of the BNP Paribas Open on Thursday.
Sania trailed 6-2 3-1 before bouncing back to win the match 2-6 6-3 6-2 and set up a tough clash against 12th seed Italian Flavia Pennetta,who had a first-round bye.
In a contest that ended just short of being two hours long,Sania was completely outplayed in the opening set,where Koryttseva broke her thrice to clinch it 6-2. The Indian seemed headed for defeat as she trailed 3-1 after being broken in the second set.
But she soon got her act together to save four break points and then broke back twice to equalise. The Hyderabad player dominated the decider and broke an error-prone Koryttseva twice to wrap up the match.
In doubles,Sania has teamed up with Taipeis Chia-Jung Chuang and the duo will open their campaign against the Argentine-Israeli team of Gisela Dulko and Shahar Peer.