Italian Open 2016: Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis reign supreme at Rome
- This is Hingis and Mirza's fifth title of the season and their first claycourt crown of 2016.
The top-ranked women’s doubles pair of Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis rebounded from their last two final losses to clinch the Internazionali BNL d’Italia title in Rome with a 6-1, 6(5)-7, 10-3 win over seventh seeds Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina on Sunday. This is their maiden claycourt title of the season and their first triumph since being crowned the St Petersburg champions in February.
The Foro Italico victory is Mirza’s 37th WTA doubles title while for Hingis, it is her 55th crown. For the team, this is their fifth title of the season.
The Indo-Swiss duo, who won the Wimbledon, US Open and the Australian Open titles, is eyeing the French Open this summer to complete a much-coveted Non-Calendar Year Grand Slam.
Fifth title of 2016 for Mirza-Hingis
After losses in consecutive claycourt finals to the in-form pair of Kristina Mladenovic and Caroline Garcia at Stuttgart and Madrid, Hingis and Mirza needed a big win to boost their spirits ahead of the season’s second Grand Slam. They couldn’t have asked for a better place to lift their first clay trophy of the season after losing the final at this very court last year.
The first set finished in a flash with Hingis and Mirza totally dominating it. The Indo-Swiss pair was right on target as they broke the 2013 French Open champions twice and did not face a single break point themselves.
The two teams, who played the Wimbledon final last year, are quite familiar with each other’s games. And the second set thus turned out to be a competitive affair. The top seeds were once again the first ones to break as they raced ahead to 2-1.
But Vesnina and Makarova broke back in the very next game to level matters at 2-2. The hard-fought fifth game of the set went Mirza and Hingis’ way as they established a slim lead of 3-2.
The set continued with each team holding their own serves until Mirza had to serve out the match. Thanks to some fabulous returns from Vesnina, the Russian combine broke back for 5-5.
A tie-break eventually followed where the seventh seeds raced out to a 4-0 lead. The top seeds recovered the mini-breaks to close in on 4-5.
But Vesnina’s volleys proved crucial for the team as the two-time Major winners grabbed the second set 7-6(5).
Martina Hingis’ alertness and her resourcefulness came in handy as she stepped in to give her team a 3-1 and then an 8-3 lead. Mirza attacked Makarova’s dodgy movement and her team’s title drought was over when the Russian dumped a volley into the net.Published 15 May 2016, 18:56 IST