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the latest from the press...

Sania breaks into top 100!

Sania Mirza's quarter-final appearance at last week's Dubai Open has seen her jump 20 places in the latest WTA Tour Rankings from 97th place to 77th. Sania who beat US Open Champions Svetlana Kuznetsova on her way to the quarterfinal broke into the top 100 last month after winning the Hyderabad Open in her home city. The 18-year-old had begun the year ranked 166 but a 3rd round appearance at the Australian open and her victory in the Hyderabad Open saw her enter the top 100 for the first time.


All of us at The Times of India work towards producing a paper whose interest, focus and agenda is the reader. TOI is a paper for the reader and of the reader, but what about by the reader? On Saturday, we took our first step to add that third dimension by inviting India's new sports sensation, heartthrob, youth icon, call 18-yearold Sania Mirza what you will, to be Guest Editor of the front page of today's Sunday Times of India. Sania sat with the editorial team of TOI for over two hours, discussing the kind of paper she likes and reads. It was late afternoon when we sat with her to draw up a rough cut of the front page. She went through a summary of all the stories on the early news list, political, city, sports, business, international, and ticked off the ones that caught her eye. Of one city crime report, she said, This sounds interesting, but I guess it's not front page?

I've been invited to guest edit this week's Sunday Times front page. My mass communication professors in Hyderabad must be fainting at the thought, but let's just call it one more wild card entry. Instead of tackling Serena Williams I was faced with long lists of news stories and asked to choose what I thought should go on today's front page.
As a reader, the front page is not my Priority No. 1. I always read a paper back to front, it's the sports pages first, then the front page headlines and of course the supplements are a must to catch up on the latest gossip, including about me (mostly wrong). What kind of news catches my attention? Certainly not politics, although I would like to know the real reason for Sonia Gandhi turning down the prime ministership. Politics is a very dirty game and most of us dont even believe what politicians say. For me, sports coverage is a no-brainer and Serena's big win is the obvious big story of the day. Her winning makes my losing to her in the third round so much easier to swallow. I also like to read stories about calamities and crime. Iraq is something I follow closely, especially stories about the torture of Iraqi soldiers exposing America's hypocrisy.
Today,s front page reflects these interests, Serena's comeback, elections in Iraq and the rape charge against a Pakistani cricketer. I was asked today if I thought cricket was given too much coverage, at the cost of other games. Would I take revenge on cricket by knocking it off today,s pages? No, I wouldn't, because I am a big cricket fan and if I had been a boy, I would probably have played cricket. But Im a girl and tennis suits me fine. Also, Test cricket has produced winners, so the buildup it gets is natural.
The front page of a newspaper should be colourful and have pictures but not at the cost of news. Reports should go beyond the obvious. When I read a story on tennis, say Serena's victory, what I really want to know is how she got her motivation back and shut up the critics instead of the usual questions on how she felt after winning, which is what everybody asks. Nor do I want to read silly details about why she wore a lemon-coloured outfit and boots instead of shoes.
Yes, newspapers should entertain, nothing wrong with that, but frankly who cares about endless stories on two people kissing? It may be big news for some but not for me. The formula for a winning newspaper is the same as that for winning on court, you must focus and have fun.

By Sania Mirza


Winner (1): 2005: Hyderabad; 2004 - ITF/Boca Raton 2-USA, ITF/Campobasso-ITA, ITF/Wrexham-GBR, ITF/London-GBR, ITF/Lagos 2-NGR; 2003 - ITF/Benin City 1-NIG, ITF/Benin City 2-NIG, ITF/Jakarta 2-INA; 2002 - ITF/Manila 2-PHI, ITF/Hyderabad-IND, ITF/Manila 1-PHI.
Finalist (1): 2005 - Forest Hills.
Semifinalist (1): 2005 - Tokyo [Japan Open].
Quarterfinalist (4): 2006 - Cincinnati, Forest Hills; 2005 - Dubai, Cincinnati.

Winner (2): 2006 - Bangalore (w/L.Huber); 2004 - Hyderabad (w/L.Huber).
Finalist (3): 2006 - Amelia Island (w/L.Huber), Istanbul (w/Molik), Cincinnati (w/Domachowska).
Semifinalist (4): 2006 - Stanford (w/Mattek); 2005 - Cincinnati (w/Fedak), Kolkata (w/Ruano Pascual), Tokyo [Japan Open] (w/Peer).

Indian Fed Cup Team, 2003-04.

Tennis Ball


2001 - Debuted at three ITF Circuit circuit events in India, reaching one SF (ITF/New Delhi-IND) and one QF (ITF/Pune-IND; also reached doubles final).

2002 - Played seven ITF Circuit events, winning first three pro titles at ITF/Manila 2-PHI, ITF/Hyderabad-IND (d. Amanmuradova, both finals) and ITF/Manila 1-PHI; also won first pro doubles title (ITF/Manila 2-PHI).

2003 - Made Tour debut at Hyderabad (as No.503 WC, l. 1r to E.Dominikovic), also Tour qualifying at Doha (l. to Blahotova); won another three ITF singles titles (ITF/Benin City 1-NGR, ITF/Benin City 2-NGR, ITF/Jakarta 2-INA); also one doubles title (ITF/Benin City 2-NGR).

2004 - On Tour, fell 1r at Hyderabad for second consecutive year (as WC, l. to eventual champion Pratt in 3s; later won doubles title w/L.Huber for first Tour title of career, becoming youngest-ever Indian, male or female, to win a Tour event, and the first woman from India to capture a Tour title); 1r at Casablanca (l. to Loit in 3s); reached nine ITF singles finals, six titles (ITF/Boca Raton 2-USA, ITF/Campobasso-ITA, ITF/Wrexham-GBR, ITF/London-GBR, ITF/Lagos 1-NGR, ITF/Lagos 2-NGR); also four more ITF doubles titles.

2005 - Breakthrough season in first full year on Tour, highlighted by first Tour singles title, two Top 10 wins and US Open 4r appearance; in fifth Tour main draw, won India’s first-ever Tour singles title at Hyderabad (d. Sescioreanu in 1r for 100th career match victory en route to final, then d. A.Bondarenko; afterwards on February 14, made Top 100 debut at No.99); runner-up at Forest Hills (l. to Safarova in 3s); first Tier III SF at Tokyo [Japan Open] (d. top seed Zvonareva in QF; l. to Golovin); QF two other times, at Dubai (overcame 4-0 first-set deficit to stun world No.7 Kuznetsova 64 62 in 2r, her career-first Top 10 victory; l. to Jankovic) and Cincinnati (l. to eventual runner-up Morigami); has broken national records at the majors, becoming first Indian woman to reach Grand Slam 3r in Australian Open debut (as WC, l. to No.7 seed and eventual champion S.Williams 61 64, having held 4-2 second-set lead), going one step further in US Open debut, reaching 4r (l. to top seed Sharapova); also debuts at remaining majors, at Roland Garros (l. 1r to Dulko) and Wimbledon (l. to No.5 seed and eventual quarterfinalist Kuznetsova 64 67(4) 64 in 2r); also 3r at Tier I San Diego (d. No.9 Petrova for second Top 10 victory en route to final, falling to Morigami in 3s; afterwards on August 8, became first Indian woman to crack Top 50, at No.48); reached career-high No.31 on October 10 (after Tokyo [Japan Open]); three doubles SF, at Cincinnati (w/Fedak), Kolkata (w/Ruano Pascual) and Tokyo [Japan Open] (w/Peer); withdrew from Bogotá w/right ankle sprain and from Rabat w/ankle injury.
JANUARY - Fell 1r at Sydney (l. to Hantuchova in 3s); in first Grand Slam of career to be seeded, upset in 2r (as No.32 seed, l. to Krajicek).

FEBRUARY - Reached 2r at Paris [Indoors] (d. world No.16 Pennetta in 1r for third career Top 20 victory; l. to eventual semifinalist Golovin); at Bangalore, upset in 2r of singles (as top seed, l. to unseeded Pin 16 75 62, having led 5-3 second set) but captured second career Tour doubles title (as No.2 seeds w/L.Huber); fell 1r at Dubai (l. to WC Hingis).

MARCH - At Indian Wells, reached 3r in singles (as No.28 seed, pushed No.4 seed and eventual runner-up Dementieva to 3s) and QF in doubles (w/Sugiyama; upset No.2 seeds Black/Stubbs en route); at Miami, fell 1r in singles (l. to WC Tatishvili 76 third set) but reached QF in doubles (as WC team w/Ivanovic).

APRIL - At Amelia Island, fell 1r in singles (l. to Raymond) but reached third career Tour doubles final, finishing runner-up (w/L.Huber).

MAY - Withdrew from Rome w/low back and wrist injury; at Istanbul, reached 2r in singles (as No.5 seed, l. to Krajicek in 3s) and runner-up in doubles (w/Molik); 1r at Roland Garros (l. to No.10 seed Myskina).

JUNE - 3r at Birmingham (as No.14 seed, l. to qualifier Tu 76 third set); fell 1r at 's-Hertogenbosch (l. to Benesova in 3s); fell 1r at Wimbledon (l. to No.7 seed Dementieva).

JULY - Impressive week in Cincinnati, reaching first singles QF of year (as No.9 seed, l. to top seed Schnyder 76(7) 75, having held set point in tie-break) and runner-up in doubles (w/Domachowska, l. to Camerin/Dulko; now 2-3 lifetime in Tour doubles finals); at Stanford, 1r in singles (l. to qualifier Bardina) but reached doubles SF (w/Mattek); 3r at San Diego (upset No.15 seed Srebotnik en route; l. to No.4 seed Dementieva in 3s).

AUGUST - Consecutive 1r losses at Los Angeles (l. to No.16 seed and eventual runner-up Jankovic) and Montreal (l. to qualifier Brianti in 3s); QF at Forest Hills (unseeded, l. to No.4 seed Dominguez Lino in 3s).


Be sure to let me know what you hear and I'll add it to this page!

Thanks to SONY for her inputs.