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China Open: Indian challenge comes to an end with Sania Mirza’s semi-final loss

FEATURED COLUMNIST
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369   //    07 Oct 2017, 15:02 IST

2017 China Open Day 8 - Semi-Finals
Sania Mirza (left) and Peng Shuai in action at Beijing on Saturday

The Indian challenge came to an end at the 2017 China Open with Sania Mirza’s loss in the women’s doubles semi-finals at Beijing on Saturday. Mirza and her Chinese partner Peng Shuai, seeded third, were edged by the top seeds Martina Hingis and Yung-Jan Chan, 6-2, 1-6, 5-10 in 1 hour 16 minutes.

Mirza and Peng made a blazing start, breaking the Swiss-Chinese Taipei combination thrice in the opening set and getting broken just once. Hingis and Chan bounced back strongly in the second set, converting all three of the break points on offer.

The top seeds carried the momentum into the match tie-break and built a 4-1 lead as Mirza’s forehand broke down. Peng then engaged Hingis into backhand-to-backhand rallies to draw errors out of the top-ranked doubles player.

The strategy worked and they were soon back on serve at 4-4. However, the third seeds could not keep it going after Chan smartly cut out the angles from Peng.

Hingis and Chan went on a run of five straight points to reach multiple match points at 9-4 before closing it out at 10-5.

The pair is on a sizzling 17-match winning streak having come to Beijing on the back of winning titles at Cincinnati, the US Open and at Wuhan. Mirza and Peng succumbed to the in-form pair in the Wuhan semi-finals last week as well.

The Indian has not managed to win a title since capturing the Brisbane crown alongside Bethanie Mattek-Sands in January.

Earlier, Rohan Bopanna too had bowed out of the men’s doubles draw in the quarter-finals.

Bopanna and Cuevas went down fighting 5-7, 6(6)-7 to the top seeds Henri Kontinen and John Peers.

Also read: Indian tennis round-up: Rohan Bopanna bows out of China Open, Divij Sharan reaches semi-finals in Kaohsiung

Simona Halep becomes new No. 1

Simona Halep created history on Saturday by becoming the first player from Romania to be the WTA World No. 1. She is the fifth woman this year to rise to the numero uno spot after Angelique Kerber, Serena Williams, Karolina Pliskova and Garbine Muguruza.

Halep avenged her French Open final defeat with a commanding 6-2, 6-4 win over Jelena Ostapenko in the China Open semi-finals. She will meet the winner of the other semi-final between the 12th seeded Petra Kvitova and the Wuhan champion Caroline Garcia.

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FEATURED COLUMNIST
A freelance journalist based in Kolkata who is a diehard Rafael Nadal fan. She is also extremely passionate about India’s progress in sports and hopes to throw light on India’s unsung sports heroes through her articles. When not screaming her lungs out in support of her favourite sports stars, she can be seen reading, watching movies or immersed in planning her next travel destination!
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