Hobart International 2020: Sania Mirza makes a winning return after 2 years
With her trademark forehands in full flow, Sania Mirza made a successful return to the WTA Tour by winning her first round in partnership with Ukraine's Nadiia Kichenok at the Hobart International 2020 today. Mirza and Kichenok stormed back after losing the first set to register a 2-6, 7-6(3), 10-3 win against the pair of Oksana Kalashnikova and Miyu Kato in 1 hour 41 minutes.
The comeback win put them into the quarter-finals where they will now face giant-killers Vania King and Christina McHale, who knocked out fourth seeds Georgina Garcia Perez and Sara Sorribes Tormo.
This was the Indian tennis queen's first competitive match since the China Open in October 2017 and was the first time she took the court since becoming a mother in October 2018.
The Indian-Ukrainian combine was on the backfoot in the initial part of the match and quickly conceded the first set after dropping their serve twice. The second set turned out to be a highly competitive one where each pair broke the other's serve thrice. The set eventually headed to a tie-break where Mirza and Kichenok showed steely resolve to edge their opponents.
Having come back from the brink, the two freed up and simply raised their game by several notches to grab the win and seal their last-eight berth.
Mirza, who is currently using a protected ranking, had made it to the pinnacle of the world rankings in doubles back in 2015. With an illustrious resume that shows as many as six Grand Slams, nobody knows better than her how to find a way in pressure situations. And this match was a classic example of that.
The 33-year-old is playing in Hobart this week in preparation for the Australian Open that begins on January 20. The 2009 Australian Open mixed doubles champion is confirmed to play with compatriot Rohan Bopanna this time.