Beijing:A tough Olympic draw pitted Sania Mirza against her Czech nemesis Iveta Benesova in the first round and even if she clears this hurdle, greater danger awaits the Indian in the second round where former world number one Venus Williams is likely to cross swords with her.
The men's doubles pair of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, however, got a better deal with the 'Indian Express' duo kicking off their campaign against French pair of Gael Monfils and Gilles Simons on Sunday.
Unfortunately, Sania was not similarly lucky. In fact, clearing the first round hurdle in singles would prove a tough task for world number 60, who has been not in the best of her form of late.
Past records also provide no glimmer of hope as Sania's all three previous attempts to crack the Benesova code came to a zilch with the Czech, currently world number 56, having the last laugh on all three occasions incidentally all via three-setters.
The Sania-Benesova duel dates back to 2005 in Los Angeles where the Czech won it 6-3 1-6 6-4 and history was repeated next year at S'Hertogenbosch. This year, they met in Stockholm and though Sania seized early initiative by winning the first set, the Czech came back from behind to maintain a 3-0 lead in the head-to-head count.
But assuming Sania manages to pull it off this time, she is set to run into reigning Wimbledon champions Venus Williams in the next.