Monday, 30th October 2017

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Sania Mirza makes winning return

Sania and Kichenok prevailed over Oksana Kalashnikova and Miyu Kato in a contest lasting one hour and 41 minutes

By PTI in Hobart
  • Published 15.01.20, 2:35 AM
  • Updated 15.01.20, 2:35 AM
  • a min read
  •  
Sania Mirza (Wikimedia Commons)

Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza made a winning return to the WTA circuit by advancing to the women’s doubles quarter finals of the Hobart International Tournament with Ukrainian partner Nadia Kichenok, here on Tuesday.

Returning to the court after two years, Sania and Kichenok prevailed 2-6, 7-6 (3), 10-3 over Oksana Kalashnikova of Georgia and Japan’s Miyu Kato in a contest lasting one hour and 41 minutes. The Indo-Ukrainian pair will next be up against Americans Vania King and Christina McHale.

The US combination upstaged fourth-seeded Spanish duo of Georgina Garcia Perez and Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-2, 7-5 in a round of 16 clash.

During her two years away from the game, the 33-year-old Sania battled injury breakdowns before taking a formal break in April 2018 to give birth to her son Izhaan. The Hyderabadi is married to Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik.

“Today was one of the most special days of my life.to have my parents and my little baby boy wit me in my first match after so long..and we WON our first round. feel very grateful for the love I am receiving.. BELIEF!! Takes you places YES my baby boy,we did it,” Sania tweeted.

In an engaging showdown, Sania and Kichenok weren’t off to a particularly good start as they double-faulted twice, failed to convert any of the seven break points that came their way and lost their serve two times to go down 2-6 in the opening set.

However, they pulled things back in the second set, helped by their rivals’ inconsistent game. Sania and Kichenok raised the bar in the final set and displayed superior returns to emerge triumphant.

A trailblazer in Indian tennis, Sania is a former world No.1 in doubles and has six Grand Slam titles to her credit. She retired from the singles competition in 2013.