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Mirza storms into last 16

SANIA Mirza's impressive start to her grasscourt season gathered momentum yesterday when the Indian star swept aside British No. 1 Anne Keothavong to advance to the last 16 of the Aegon Classic in Birmingham, England.

Mirza demonstrated that she is fully recovered from a career-threatening wrist injury as she raced through the first set and although 11th seed Keothavong put up greater resistance in the second, she saw out the match 6-1, 7-6 (5).

It was not such a good day for Thai veteran Tamarine Tanasagurn, who was upset by 20-year-old British wildcard Naomi Cavaday. Cavaday beat last year's Wimbledon quarterfinalist 6-7 (5), 6-2, 4-6 in a match featuring nine breaks of serve.

In another upset in the second round, Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland beat No. 6 Ekaterina Makarova of Russia 6-3, 3-6, 6-2.

In Halle, Germany, Mischa Zverev rallied to upset fifth-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (8) yesterday and reach the quarterfinals of the Gerry Weber Open.

Zverev, a German wildcard, wasted three match points in the decisive tiebreaker, then saved two before overcoming the 2007 tournament champion.

It is the fourth time this year that the 21-year-old German has reached the quarterfinals of a tournament.

Earlier, "lucky loser" Lukas Lacko advanced to the second round by beating Harel Levy 7-6 (6), 6-2. Lacko lost to Levy in the final round of qualifying but got a place in the main draw after the withdrawal of top-seeded Roger Federer.

Benjamin Becker sparked another upset when he beat eighth-seeded German compatriot Rainer Schuettler 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.


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