Monday, August 22, 2016

Martina Hingis' former doubles partner Sania Mirza holds on to her #1 ranking dropping Hingis to 2

For so long the standard bearer for tennis on the subcontinent, Sania Mirza is no stranger to flying solo. A strange sensation for one of her generation's outstanding doubles players, but one that has fostered an inner steel crucial to her longevity at the top of the sport.

Following the premature conclusion of her singles career in 2012 owing to a serious wrist injury, Mirza quickly established herself as a doubles specialist to be reckoned with. Already a serial title winner, a sequence of increasingly fruitful partnerships elevated her game - and ranking - to new levels.

Alongside Bethanie Mattek-Sands, and in particular the evergreen Cara Black, Mirza lifted silverware at many of tennis' flagship events; with Black by her side, this culminated in the Indian qualifying for then winning the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.

When Black left the tour to focus on family life, it left Mirza as one of the most sought-after partners on tour. And it was not long before another serial major winner came calling: Martina Hingis.

Success was immediate, the duo winning their first 14 matches and three tournaments together. The last victory in this sequence, in Charleston, brought Mirza to another major milestone: the No.1 ranking.

So impressive were the pair's results - they won three consecutive majors, going unbeaten for 41 straight matches between August 2015 and February 2016 - Mirza was soon joined by Hingis atop the rankings. It was an honor they held until this Monday, when Mirza reassumed the mantle of outright No.1 following victory alongside new partner Barbora Strycova in the final of the Western & Southern Open.

Their opponents in the final were none other than Hingis and CoCo Vandeweghe, the ownership of the No.1 ranking adding an additional layer of intrigue to an already tense occasion.

"We played each other in the final, which is of course the best time to play each other," Mirza told ESPN. "It was not the easiest situation, it is a bit weird. There are nerves but at the end of the day we are tennis players and we have to try and win and do our best and we both tried to do the same thing.

"We had a great partnership but it was time to move on and we have moved on. We've both had a great tournament. I have to look forward and I have to focus all my energy on this partnership which is obviously doing great."

Defeat for Mirza would have seen her surrender sole possession of top spot to Hingis, and she was full of praise for her new partner's competitive instinct following a rollercoaster final, in which they trailed 1-5, 15-40 in the first set before storming back to clinch the title.

"We are really happy, it was a new partnership and we are obviously very happy and excited to have started this way and winning one of the big tournaments of the year," she said. "We had a really tough draw. We have beaten some big teams and for us it has been an amazing week.

"As professional athletes you have to first see whether you match each other on the court, which is what I thought which is why I approached her to play when that split had happened. Obviously I was right because our playing styles complement each other. We are similar personalities and we will get to know each other better in the course of time. We fight for every point."

The 38th doubles title of the 29-year-old's career extends her spell at No.1 to 72 weeks, a number bettered by only 10 players in history. The ranking will again be on the line when Hingis, Mirza and their new teammates head to New York for the year's final major, the US Open.

"Consistent performances matter, it's not a flash in the pan of one odd tournament. I have won six tournaments this year and played a bunch of finals which is huge already for this year. The hardcourts are my favorite surface. I am looking forward to the next few weeks. I am not going to put any added pressure on myself that this what I need to do or should do."

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Martina Hingis falls to former partner Sania Mirza in Cincinnati doubles final

Western Southern Open Facebook

Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis parted ways after Rogers Cup only to end up standing opposite each other at the Cincinnati Masters finals. Sania, paired with Barbora Strycova from the Czech Republic, defeated Martina, who has teamed up with Coco Vandeweghe of the United States of America, 7-5, 6-4.

With the win, Sania retained her number one status on the women's doubles ranking as Hingis slipped to the second spot.

The win comes as a soother to Olympics defeats for Sania Mirza who won her sixth title of the season and 38th in the doubles tally.

The Indo-Czech pair were down 1-5 in the first set, but finding the rhythm, the duo bounced back to take charge of the match with a 7-5 win.

There was a shaky start to the second set as well as Mirza-Strycova failed to convert a break point. They soon found success with a 3-1 lead and Mirza's forehand ensured a 6-4 win over the Swiss-American pair.

When asked about facing Hingis on the court, Sania said, "I am not going to lie. It's a very difficult situation. It's not easy because we are still good friends, so it's never easy. It's the first tournament since we split and we come and we have to play each other. Of course, there is no better match to play than the final, so it was difficult, I think. for both of us.

"But having said that we are professional tennis players. We have to come out and we have to give our best and we have to try and win. That's all we can do, and we both tried to do that," reports WTAtennis.

Sania is not bothered about the ranking and thinks that it is just a number. All she wanted to do was play to win and that's what she did.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza to face each other in Cincinnati Open doubles final post split

Just a week after formally announcing their split, Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis will be back on the same court, albeit on different sides. Mirza and her new partner Barbora Strycova beat Chan Hao-ching and Chan Yung-jan 6-2, 7-5 to set up a final duel against Hingis and Coco Vandeweghe.

After failing to produce consistent performances in the last few months, World No.1s Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis had decided to go their separate ways last week. Mirza and Hingis, who won a tournament back in May, are now just a win away from clinching the Cincinnati Masters title, but only one will end the day with a trophy in their hands.

Sania and her Czech Republic partner Barbora Strycova set up the cinematic finale after defeating Chan Hao-ching and Chan Yung-jan 6-2, 7-5 in the semi-final yesterday. They had earlier beaten USA's Christina McHale and Maria Sanchez 6-4, 6-4 in the Round of 16, before going past Timea Babos of Hungary and Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan 7-6, 6-1 in the quarterfinal.

The Indo-Czech pair are yet to drop a set in the tournament, and will face Martina Hingis and her partner from the USA, Coco Vandeweghe, who are on a similar run to the final. Hingis and Vandeweghe got a walkover in the Round of 16 and in the quarter-final, before defeating Julia Görges and Karolina Pliskova 6-1, 6-4 in the other semi-final.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Martina Hingis & new partner Coco Vandeweghe through to Cincinnati semis without playing a point

In an unusual scenario, Martina Hingis and Coco Vandeweghe   progressed to the semi-finals of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati without stepping on to the court.

This comes after the Swiss-American combination received a bye in the first round before their quarter-finals opponents Sara Errani and Carla Suarez Navarro conceded a walkover, sending the fourth seeds straight into the last-four stage.

This implies that the duo have earned 350 ranking points and $36,670 by entering the semi-finals, where they will be taking the court for the first time against fifth seeds Julia Georges and Karolina Pliskova on Saturday.

Hingis and Vandeweghe are unbeaten together, having won all their eight matches since teaming up earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Hingis’ former partner and fellow world number one Sania Mirza (along with partner Barbora Strycova) had to play two matches in a day en route the semi-finals. Should all go well, Hingis and Mirza could clash in the Sunday’s title-clash.