World No. 2 doubles player Sania Mirza and partner Barbora Strycova are through to the semi-finals at the Apia International in Sydney, their final tournament prior to the Australian Open.
The two, who are the top seeds at the tournament, defeated the Australian-American pair of Arina Rodionova and Madison Brengle in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4 in just over an hour to contest the semi-finals at the tournament tomorrow.
Mirza and Strycova began the match convincingly, breaking their opponents three times in the first set alone. The two also played strong defensive tennis, and were only broken once by their rivals in that set. Strong on their first serves, the two remained a double break up on serve to end the first set.
The Indo-Czech pair appeared to lose a bit of steam in the second set, and faltered to commit a few errors. But that did not appear to derail their overall momentum, with the two successfully defending a number of break points, with Rodionova and Brengle breaking only once of six different opportunities.
Mirza is the defending champion in Sydney, but last year won the tournament with former partner Martina Hingis.
Fresh off a title win in Brisbane with one-off partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Mirza was overtaken by her American partner in the doubles rankings. Mirza successfully defended her points from last year, while Mattek-Sands bettered her performance.
Now, Mirza stands, at 8,135 points, 130 points behind World Number 1 Mattek-Sands at 8,265.
Mirza and Strycova won a number of titles last year following the Indian’s surprise split with Martina Hingis; the pair took top honours at the Western and Southern Open soon after coming together, following that up with an immensely successful Asian leg on the WTA Tour; she came together this year on a one-off tournament with Mattek-Sands in Brisbane.
Mattek-Sands has enjoyed an immensely successful doubles partnership with Czech ace Lucie Safarova, with the pair beating Mirza and Strycova to the Wuhan title late last year.
A win for Sania Mirza and Barbora Strycova here will not affect Mirza’s rankings given she is defending champion, but will see Strycova, currently at 17th, move up the WTA doubles ranks. American Brengle has been doing well in the singles, and recently ousted former World No. 1 Serena Williams from the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand.
Strycova is also through to the semi-finals in the singles after a quarter-final win over former World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki.