Sania and Mattek-Sands stun sixth seeds to enter Wimbledon 2nd round
Sania Mirza and her American partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands stunned sixth seeds Desirae Krawczyk and Alexa Guarachi to make the second round of the women's doubles event at Wimbledon here on Thursday.
Mirza and Mattek-Sands were a bit rusty at the start but once they got their rhythm, they dominated the match and won 7-5 6-3 against the American-Chilean combination in one hour and 27 minutes.
However, Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan made an early exit after losing their men's doubles first round 6-7 (6) 4-6 to Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Henri Kontinen.
The Indians had paired up to prepare for the Tokyo Games but could not make the cut.
The pressure was on Mirza and Mattek-Sands early in the match when the American served the third game that featured seven deuce points.
Mattek-Sands served three double faults in a slow start but eventually held on after saving three break points.
Mirza and Mattek-Sands too had two opportunities to break their rivals but the American fluffed a volley from the net before the left-handed Desirae served extremely well to hold.
Guarachi hit a forehand wide at 15-30 to hand two set points to their rivals in the 12th game. It was a chance that the Indo-American pair did not squander, with Sania finishing off the set with an overhead smash.
In the second set, Mirza and Mattek-Sands opened up a 3-1 lead when they broke Guarachi again.
Matte-Sands' low backhand return was hit back uppishly and Mirza latched on to that with an unreturnable smash.
With a 3-1 cushion at hand, Mirza and her partner never looked back.
With Ankita Raina taking the court later in the day with American partner Lauren Davis, there will be a bit of history for Indian tennis at the Championships as for the first time, two women players from the country are competing in the main draw of a Grand Slam.
For Ankita, it will be her third successive appearance at a tennis major, having made her debut at the Australian Open this year.
Mirza has been the lone Indian competing at the biggest stage of the game since 2005.
Before that, Indian-American Shikha Uberoi had qualified for the US Open women's singles in 2004 and also won her first round against Japan's Saori Obata before losing to Venus Williams.
Shikha could never make the Grand Slam main draw again and after that it was Mirza who kept representing India on the WTA tour.
Nirupama Vaidyanathan was the first to crack a singles Grand Slam main draw in 1998 at the Australian Open. She also played Wimbledon doubles with Rika Hiraki in 2001 while Nirupama Mankad played the 1971 Wimbledon mixed doubles with Anand Amritraj.