While the 111th-ranked 23 year-old looked to be in good physical shape, hitting the ball hard and moving well, she was well short of the shore when it came to match-fitness. The 55th-ranked German Angelique Kerber used that to her advantage to power home in a little over an hour late on Monday.
“I need more matches,” Sania acknowledged later. “No matter how much you practice, it is the wins under your belt, the recent ones at that, that give you confidence for the big stage. I was rusty on the big points and lacked the confidence to go for broke.”
One such game was the long-drawn ninth game of the first set, when Sania had two chances to break the Kerber serve with the scores levelled at four-all. Both times she faltered with her shot selection from the back of the court. “The toughest part about getting back to competition is getting match trim,” Sania explained. “It’s a slow process.”