French Open 2016: Leander Paes and Martina Hingis clinch mixed doubles title beating Sania Mirza - Ivan Dodig 4-6, 6-4, 10-8
India’s evergreen tennis ace Leander Paes added yet another feather to his cap by completing a much-coveted mixed doubles Career Slam at the 2016 French Open in Paris on Friday. He and Martina Hingis edged past Sania Mirza and Ivan Dodig 4-6, 6-4, 10-8 to win their team’s fourth Grand Slam title after victories at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open last year.
This is Leander’s 18th Slam title while for Hingis, it is the 22nd Major glory of her illustrious career.
The first set was very evenly-contested until the tenth game when the second seeds Mirza and Dodig converted the only break point of the set.
The experienced Paes and Hingis, however, would not go down without a fight. They made a superb comeback in the second set by breaking Dodig and Mirza to surge ahead 2-1.
Dodig saved two break points with some exquisite volleys but the Indo-Swiss pair produced some great returns to convert the third break point. They managed to consolidate it too as they looked to stretch the match into a super tie-break.
Unfortunately, their joy was short-lived. As Paes dumped a volley into the net, they unseeded pair lost their advantage and the set was back on level terms.
Paes’ partner Hingis was then quick to rescue the team as she conjured up another break of serve to inch ahead 4-3. They continued to pressurize with their returns and even had a couple of set points with Dodig serving at 3-5 down.
They could not capitalize on it but did not have to wait long to get the set as they did it in the very next game.
In the match tie-break, it was once again the Indo-Croatian duo who had a slim lead of 3-1 but they lost it soon thanks to some clever play from Hingis. The breaker stayed on serve until the 12th game when Paes and Hingis secured a mini-break for a 7-5 lead.
Hingis’ magical backhand secured a match point for her team at 9-8 which they duly converted.
Karman Thandi bows out
Meanwhile, the Indian campaign ended in the junior section as Karman Thandi and Jaimee Fourlis crashed out with a 0-6, 2-6 loss to Mayuka Aikawa and Ylena In-Albon in the girls’ doubles quarter-finals.