New York: India`s Sania Mirza continued her run of good form in New York by defeating Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal 6-3, 6-2 in a US Open first-round tie on Monday.
The 23-year old Mirza, like her opponent, had battled through three qualifying rounds at Flushing Meadows just to gain entry to the main draw and it was tough going to start with against the combative De Brito.
But once she had pocketed the first set, Mirza gained in confidence and she ran away with the second to win in 77 minutes, setting up a second-round tie against 20th-seeded Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
Mirza, currently ranked a lowly 159th in the world, is battling to get back into the world top-50 following a wrist injury that sidelined her early in the year and the time taken off to celebrate her marriage to Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik.
She lost in the first round at the Australian Open and at Wimbledon so New York, where she reached the fourth round in 2005, represents her best chance of picking up big ranking points before the end of the year.
Mirza said that although she had learned to manage the wrist injury that has threatened the rest of her career, it was something that would never completely go away.
"For me, the fact that I am still capable of going on court and winning four matches in a row gives me a lot of confidence that I still have the ability," she said.
"I am just going to enjoy it. I was happy when I won the first round of the qualifiers and I am happy again today."
"I love playing here on the hardcourts in New York and always seem to do well here."