Sania Mirza and Cara Black won their first title of the season with a hard-fought 6-4, 6-3 win over Eva Hrdinova and Valeria Solovyeva in the final of the WTA Portugal Open, here on Saturday. The top seeded Indo-Zimbabwean pair, playing their third finals of the season, was tested by the Czech-Russian team in summit clash, which lasted one hour and 18 minutes. Before, this Sania and Cara had ended runners-up at Indian Wells in March and at the Stuttgart event, last week.
Courtesy an early break, the top seeds raced to 3-1 lead in the opening set but Eva and Valeria raised their game by a few notches to not only break their rivals back but also snatch lead by the seventh game.
Stunned by the fightback of the Czech-Russian pair, Sania and Cara broke Eva and Valeria in the eighth game to make it 4-4 and one more time in the 10th to pocket the first set. After trading a break each, the scores were 3-3 in the second set. A double fault by Cara put the top seeds down a breakpoint but they saved it to be up 4-3.
They broke their rivals in the next game and Sania served out the match in the ninth game. Sania and Cara won 9,919 euros in prize money and earned 280 ranking points each for the win.
Berdych in final
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Top seed Tomas Berdych lived up to his billing on Saturday with a 6-2, 6-2 hammering of Romanian Victor Hanescu which took the Czech into the final of the Portugal Open.
Berdych, playing on a wild card, will compete in his third final of the season after Rotterdam and Dubai when he faces the winner from Argentine Carlos Berlocq and Daniel Gimeno-Traver of Spain. “The first step is there, I’m in the final,” said the winner. “Now it would be really great to win this title.
“It’s always a pleasure to be competing at the end of a week. Every final counts and I’m really looking forward to this one.” Berdych needed just 72 minutes to defeat Hanescu in a match which he made it all look easy after struggling in the previous round. The top seed won with five aces and four breaks of serve in a straightforward effort which put him into a 22nd career final. The victory also gives Berdych a 2-0 lead in the series after defeating Hanescu in the Wimbledon second round six years ago. The loss denied Hanescu his 200th career victory on the ATP.