|Sania (left) hugs Martina after the match. (AP)
Aug. 8: Hear it from Hingis: Sania’s still hungry.
Former World No. 1 Martina Hingis has said what millions of Indians have long wanted to hear — that the girl from Hyderabad whom most had written off was fresh and ready for more.
The tribute from the ‘Swiss Miss’ came yesterday after Sania Mirza stunned the five-time Grand Slam winner 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 to reach the third round of the Los Angeles Classic.
“She was all hungry out there and so am I, but she just seems fresher,” Hingis, who will be 27 next month and has been suffering from a back injury, said. “She hits incredible angles with her forehand.”
Even a few months back, critics had said Sania lacks the stamina or expertise to take on the Henins and the Sharapovas of the world.
After Tuesday’s victory, Sania said she was tired but had learnt how to “dig deep”.
“To beat one of the quickest players on the tour and to have to dig deep to do it, that feels great,” the 20-year-old said after the win which levelled her record against the world No. 12 at 2-2. “It tells me I can do it again.”
Sania’s comeback — after a two-and-a-half-month injury layoff — began at the Tier IV Morocco Open in May. World No. 51 then, she has now climbed to an all-time high of 30. In between, she reached the semi-finals of the Cincinnati Open, followed it up with a final berth at Stanford and a quarterfinal appearance at the Acura Classic last week.
“The way she is playing, she can beat any player,” doubles ace Mahesh Bhupathi said from Montreal.
Looking back at the last three weeks, it doesn’t seem an exaggeration. Among those who have fallen by the wayside are several top 20 players like Tatiana Golovin, Patty Schnyder and Dinara Safina.
Yesterday, it was the turn of Hingis.