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Fab four: India has a field day

Sania Mirza teams up with one-time Chinese rival Zheng Jie to win another Tennis doubles title; Paes adds one more to his name. The timing couldn’t be better. Sharmistha Chaudhuri reports.

sports Updated: Aug 26, 2013 03:29 IST
Sharmistha Chaudhuri
Sharmistha Chaudhuri
Hindustan Times

It’s not easy reaching 25 WTA doubles finals, and winning 17 of them is definitely not a joke. That’s exactly what Sania Mirza accomplished after a hard fought victory at New Haven partnering China’s Zheng Jie. The duo won its first title together with a 6-3, 6-4 win over second-seeded Anabel Medina Garrigues and Katarina Srebotnik.

The timing couldn’t be better for Sania.

“Of course this is a confidence booster ahead of the US Open,” the 26-year-old said. “We just hope we’ll be able to carry this form into Flushing Meadows.” Last year, she reached the prequarters in New York.

Since last year, Sania has had a very successful partnership with American Bethanie Mattek-Sands. The duo, very good friends off court, won four titles together - two of them this year. But once the partnership ended, Sania paired up with doubles veteran Liezel Huber in the grass court tournaments.

But since the 2008 Olympic doubles bronze medalist and Sania came together in the US hardcourt season, after playing once on clay in the summer, it took them some time to find their footing.

They reached the second round in Toronto but bowed out in the first in Cincinnati. But it was in New Haven that they clicked.

“We didn’t start well here, winning a couple of ugly matches,” Sania said. But once they made the summit clash, the third seeds were eager to give it their all.

“We kept getting better.”

After toying with the idea of making a comeback in singles, the Indian came to a decision that her body wouldn’t be able to handle the pressure.

Thus, the focus shifted entirely to doubles. But playing for almost 10 years in the professional circuit with 17 doubles, one singles and two Grand Slam mixed titles on her resume, Sania has come a long way.

“It’s satisfying to continue to win at the highest level. I believe I still have a few more years of top-flight tennis left in me,” she said.

Leander Paes won his first title of the season when he triumphed at the Winston-Salem Open partnering Canadian Daniel Nestor. The 40-year-olds beat Treat Huey and Dominic Inglot 7-6(10) 7-5 in the final.

First Published: Aug 26, 2013 00:45 IST