Sania Mirza defeated Laura Granville 6-3, 7-5 today to advance to the third round of the U.S. Open. The NY Times details the controversies that Mirza has endured since 2005– she was criticized by a number of Muslim clerics for wearing allegedly revealing tennis outfits on the court and for playing with an Israeli doubles partner (Shahar Pe’er).
Mirza handled both controversies with grace, stressing that she wanted people to focus on her tennis and asking reporters not to ask her questions about her religion. When I was traveling in India earlier this summer, I was struck by the glowing press coverage Mirza received win or lose.
Mirza has a difficult challenge ahead against Anna Chakvetadke. She hasn’t beaten her once this year.