Noisy home support fails to lift Mirza to tennis gold
NEW DELHI |
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Sania Mirza, India's most popular sportswoman, failed to win Commonwealth tennis gold for a fanatical home crowd Saturday as Australia's Anastasia Rodionova spoiled the party with a 6-3 2-6 7-6 victory.
The top seed kept her composure in the face of fervent support for Mirza, with fans frequently asked to quieten throughout the contest.
"Unfortunately I fell a bit short," Mirza said. "It's an honour for me to be playing for my country."
Mirza's every winning point was followed with a deafening roar. Even when she was trailing, support from the Indian fans did not waver and silence was rare.
The noisy behaviour came after Games organisers said they were monitoring the crowds at all the events and asking volunteers to ensure silence at critical points.
"We have faced a lot of criticism due to partisan crowds. Something which has always been the case in a cricket match," Karan, a security volunteer at the RK Khanna Tennis Stadium said.
"We are trying our level best to ensure there is no space for rowdies and those who spoil this sport."
Fans of all ages had packed the venue as the twilight faded.
Undeterred by volunteers and policing staff, children carrying Indian flags moved around seats across the stadium, frequently bumping into a sizeable posse of Australian fans.
"I am not an avid tennis follower, however I have always been fascinated by women in sports in our country. I have joined my father to cheer for Sania. She is an inspirational woman in this country," Ananya, a 15-year-old spectator, said.
Rodionova denied the result the home fans craved when she claimed the third set tie-break 7-3.
(Editing by Justin Palmer)
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