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Having clinched Brisbane and Sydney titles, Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis start off their Australian Open challenge
Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis start off their Australian Open challenge today, buoyed by Hingis’ reclaiming the World No. 1 ranking this year.
More than 15 years after she reigned supreme at the top of the women’s doubles rankings, Swiss tennis great Martina Hingis has reclaimed the world no.1 rank.
The 35-year-old has joined doubles partner Sania Mirza as co-World No.1 in the latest Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) rankings released in Melbourne late last week.
The world’s top ranked pair is in top form, having won 30 matches in a row.
To add to it, they have now won seven straight tournaments, including both their preparation tournaments for the Australian Open in Brisbane and Sydney.
The two will be taking on the unseeded Colombian-Brazilian pair of Mariana Duque-Marino and Teliana Pereira in the first round.
The Swiss-Indian duo is on a 30-match winning streak that has brought them seven straight titles at the US Open, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Beijing and WTA Finals in 2015, and Brisbane and Sydney this year.
Sydney International title
The Indo-Swiss combination have just won the Sydney International title, their 11th trophy since coming together around a year ago.
At one stage, almost set to lose the final, Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis came up with a stupendous performance to earn a fantastic come-from-behind victory and clinch the Sydney International women’s doubles title at the Ken Rosewall Arena in Sydney on 15 Jan.
The 29-year-old Sania was the defending champion here but last year she won the title with American Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
“At 6-1, 5-2 the only thing we could say to each other was that it was only one break. That’s the only positive you can find from a situation like that,” Sania said.
“We tried to hold our serve for 5-3 to give ourselves another chance, then we had a huge game at 5-3 and the momentum went in our favour. We’re really happy to win another tournament. We’re really happy with the way we fought.”
The first set turned out to be disastrous for the Indo-Swiss pair, who were not only broken thrice but also served four double faults at crucial junctures to literally give away the set.
They were down a break at 2-5 in the second set when Sania and Martina somehow found their legs to turn it around. The top seeds won the next five games, breaking their opponents twice in as many chances available, to remarkably seal the set and push the match into the decider.
The super tie-break was anybody’s game but the Sania-Martina duo had the experience and the nerves to seal it 10-5 and clinch yet another title and prepare themselves in the best possible way for the first Major of the year, the Australian Open.
“We had to take our chances,” Martina said later. “You don’t see much light in a dark tunnel, but then we had one or two opportunities here and there, and with one little chance we were able to turn the match around.”
Bopanna fails to defend his Sydney International crown
Rohan Bopanna and Florin Mergea had to be content with a runners-up finish at the ATP Apia International after losing the summit clash to Bruno Soares and Jamie Murray in Sydney.
The fourth seeded Indo-Romanian pair lost the final 3-6 6-7(6) to the unseeded Brazilian-Briton pair on hour and 29 minutes.
Bopanna and Mergea had a good chance to stretch the match to a Super Tie-breaker by racing to a 4-0 lead in the second-set tie-breaker but allowed the rivals to come back and snatch the win.
Bopanna had won the event last year with Canadian partner Daniel Nestor.
Paes-Chardy crash out of Australian Open
Indian veteran Leander Paes and his partner Jeremy Chardy crashed out of the Australian Open after losing in the first round of the men’s doubles category in straight sets in Melbourne on 20 Jan.
The Indo-French combination was totally outclassed by the Columbian pair of Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, and went down 6-3, 6-4.
Earlier, they crashed out in the first round of that tournament as well, defeated in straight sets by Brazilian doubles expert Marcelo Melo and Paes’ former partner, Daniel Nestor.
Paes’ longtime partner Mahesh Bhupathi meanwhile, has had a better start at Melbourne, with new partner Gilles Muller of Luxembourg. They beat Andrew Whittington and Alex Bolt, both of Australia, in a three-set, 2 hour 13 minute match.
As well, Indian-origin player Rajeev Ram of the USA has had a good start with partner Raven Klaasen of Russia, winning his first-round match
India’s only singles player, Yuki Bhambri crashed out of the Australian Open men’s singles event after losing in straight sets to world number six Tomas Berdych in the opening round in Melbourne on 18 Jan.