Sania Mirza dedicated her opening Asian Games win to husband, and former Pakistan cricket captain, Shoaib Malik on Thursday as the Indian golden girl romped past Hong Kong’s Chan Wing Yau.
Mirza, whose ranking has slumped to 166 following a series of injuries, needed just under an hour to clinch a 6-1, 6-0 win, showing no signs of the illness which forced her to skip the women’s team event.
“I didn’t feel well in the last two weeks,” said the 24-year-old, who captured a gold and two silvers at the 2006 Doha Asian Games.
“I was absent from the team event, but now I feel much better.”
“My husband came here today, that made me very confident and I felt good.”
Mirza next tackles Chinese sixth seed Zhang Shuai who needed just 33 minutes to defeat roly-poly Nepalese Malika Rana in an embarrassing mismatch.
Zhang, the world 91, enjoyed six breaks of serve and hit 30 winners to her opponent’s two.
The Nepalese player won just nine points in the entire match.
“Sania is a very strong opponent and we respect her,” said Zhang, who defeated Mirza at the Guangzhou Open in the same Aoti Tennis Centre courts this season.
In another one-sided first round tie, China fourth seed Peng Shuai needed just 31 minutes to brush aside another Nepalese, Aslesha Lissanevitch, 6-0, 6-0.
“It’s been a while since I have played against amateurs. It felt a little weird,” said Peng who, along with compatriot Li Na, clinched gold in the women’s team event.
“That team event was not easy. I felt a lot of pressure which is more intense than what I felt at the National Games. When I was playing in the final, I felt so intense that my hands trembled.”
Japan’s fifth seed Ayumi Morita was also an easy first round winner, seeing off Kyrgyzstan’s Ksenia Palkina 6-1, 6-1 while Taiwan seventh seed Chiang Kai-chen defeated Poojashree Venkatesha of India 6-2, 6-2.
Only one match went the full three sets with Uzbekistan’s Sabina Sharipova coming from a set down to beat former Wimbledon junior champion Noppawan Lertcheewakarn of Thailand 3-6, 7-5, 6-2.
Women’s top seed Kimiko Date Krumm, the oldest player in the draw at 40, opens her campaign on Friday, 16 years after she won gold at the 1994 Asian Games in Hiroshima.