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Game, set and match

india Updated: Jan 21, 2008 20:47 IST
Hindustan Times
Game

It is not just Indian cricketers who are shoving controversies aside and getting ahead Down Under. Sania Mirza seems to be just as focused on her game, in spite of reverses on court — and, sadly, off it. Despite her third round loss in the women’s singles of the Australian Open to former Wimbledon champion Venus Williams, Sania has gotten back to her winning ways in both the women’s doubles and mixed doubles events of the tournament. After joining Alicia Molik to beat Nadia Petrova and Elena Vesnina, she partnered Mahesh Bhupathi in the mixed doubles to make short work of fancied local favourites, Molik and Natrah Helaey.

Of late, Sania has had a lot more than her weak first serve to worry about as she tripped on needless controversies. That she’s doing so well despite fatwas — for allegedly wearing “revealing” on-court attire, and a court case for allegedly “disrespecting” the national flag — speaks volumes about her mental toughness.

Here’s a player who never tires of proving right Mahesh Bhupathi’s prediction about the next Indian tennis star being
a woman. Few can doubt the transition from promising talent to champion material of this pint-sized player who punches above her weight. She has a great forehand, which is a big plus and technically not much sets her game apart from that of the top 10 players. She reads her game so well between the ears and works on it so hard that she can only improve. And that can only push the bar higher for women’s tennis in the country.