There could not have been a better balm for the heartbreak that Sania Mirza suffered at Rio Olympics 2016. After losing the bronze medal play-off in mixed doubles alongside Rohan Bopanna, Mirza returned straight to the WTA Tour to play at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati, USA.
With a new partner – Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic – in tow, the Indian player won five consecutive matches to clinch the title with a 7-5, 6-4 win over the fourth seeds Martina Hingis and Coco Vandeweghe in the final on Sunday. This is Mirza’s sixth title of the season and the 38th crown of her illustrious doubles career.
Mirza now solo No. 1
Not only that, this victory also made the 29-year-old the sole owner of the No. 1 ranking spot, a place that she was sharing with her former doubles partner Hingis. The latter now drops to No. 2.
In an interesting twist of fate, it was the Swiss Miss that Mirza faced on the opposite side of the net in her first tournament since their split. Expectedly, it was not an easy ride for Mirza and Strycova.
The seventh seeds were down 1-5 in the first set, having gone down 3 breaks of serve. But they rebounded in style after saving three set points. With renewed confidence, the Indo-Czech pair then stormed through the opener to take six games on the trot and grab the first set 7-5.
In the second set, the seventh seeds had a break point in the very first game but could not convert it. They had success soon after to lead 3-1. The ferocious Mirza forehands struck again to leap to 5-2.
However, there was a little fumble towards the end as Strycova was broken back while serving for the match. Mirza completed the job and sealed the win in 1 hour 22 minutes.
The Indian had won all five of her earlier titles this year partnering Hingis, one of which was the Australian Open.