Sania-Vesnina in French Open womens doubles final

Paris: Sania Mirza stormed into her maiden Grand Slam women`s doubles final as she and her Russian partner Elena Vesnina defeated American duo of Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond in a thrilling three-setter in the semifinals of the French Open here on Wednesday.

Seeded seventh in the tournament, Sania and Vesnina upset their fourth seeded opponents 6-3 2-6 6-4 in 105 minutes at the Roland Garros.

In tomorrow`s summit clash, the Indo-Russian combo will face the unseeded Czech duo of Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka, who stunned third seeded pair of Vania King of United States and Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan 6-3 6-3 in another last four match.

This is Sania`s third Grand Slam final appearance in her career — the first two being in the mixed doubles in the Australian Open.

Sania and ace compatriot Mahesh Bhupathi had won the Australian Open mixed doubles title in 2009 while they were the losing finalists in the same Grand Slam tournament in 2008.

Sania, who paired up with Vesnina only in February, had a strap just below her left knee but did not show any apparent problem as she played some superb winning shots across the net.

Sania and Vesnina broke their opponents early in the first set to race to a 4-1 ahead before pocketing it 6-3 in 30 minutes.

The second set was a longer affair with both the sides trading breaks before the American pair stepped up their game and broke Sania and Vesnina for a third time to clinch the set in 38 minutes and level the tie.

In the deciding set, Sania and Vesnina broke their opponents in the first game itself and then held their serve to take a 2-0 lead.

Huber and Raymond held onto their next serve but Sania-Vesnina pair maintained their two-point lead at 3-1 by winning the fourth game.

However, Huber and Raymond broke the Indo-Russian combination in the sixth game to level scores at 3-3.

But Sania and Vesnina responded in a superb fashion by breaking their opponents in the seventh game to surge ahead 4-3 before holding serve to make it 5-3.

Huber and Raymond held their serve in the ninth game to make it 4-5 but Sania and Vesnina held onto their nerves to ensure that they did not blow away their chance of making it to their maiden doubles final.

The Indo-Russian duo took 37 minutes to seal the the third set 6-4 in their favour.

Since pairing up in February, Sania and Vesnina had won two titles — at Indian Wells in March and in Charleston in April.

Sania is the lone Indian left in the fray after Davis Cupper Rohan Bopanna and his Pakistani partner Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi lost in the men`s doubles quarter-finals to top seeded American brothers Bob and Mike Bryan yesterday.