Sania Mirza and Barbora Strycova part ways ahead of the clay season

Strycova wants to focus on her singles career from now on

What’s the story?

Sania Mirza has ended her doubles partnership with Czech player, Barbora Strycova after reaching the Miami final in the first week of April where they suffered a shock defeat to the unseeded pairing of Gabriela Dabrowski and Yifan Xu. It has been reported by that the Indian will now team up with two-time Grand Slam champion Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan ahead of the red clay season.

Mirza’s father and coach, Imran told the publication that Strycova wants to focus on her singles career from now on. As she is finding it exhausting to handle both singles and doubles simultaneously, the decision to split has been taken mutually.

“But while Barbora would like to focus this year on her singles and is finding it exhausting when she goes deep in one or both formats, Sania is looking to win a few more big titles in doubles. Hence, it was mutually decided to part ways,” he said.

In case you didn't know...

Mirza had paired up with Strycova in August after terminating her highly successful partnership with the legendary Martina Hingis that yielded 14 titles which included three Grand Slam crowns. In their very first outing together, they made a run to the title at WTA Cincinnati. The Indo-Czech duo had yet another triumph at Tokyo following which they finished as runners-up at Wuhan. They were even in contention for a place at the year-ending WTA Finals before narrowly losing out.

The heart of the matter

Despite ending 2016 on a high, they had been struggling to win titles in 2017. This year, the pair made two finals – at Sydney and at Miami but failed to cross the finish line in both of them. At the Australian Open, they were expected to perform well after their Sydney final appearance but they shockingly fell to the unheralded Japanese combine of Eri Hozumi and Miyu Kato in the pre-quarter-finals.

After the Miami disappointment, Mirza played the Volvo Car Open in Charleston – a green clay tournament – in tandem with another Czech, Andrea Hlavackova, a two-time Major winner in women’s doubles. But the two, who were seeded second, could not live up to the billing and crashed out in the quarter-finals.

What's next?

Mirza and Shvedova's first tournament will be the Madrid Open which is scheduled to begin on May 5.

Author's take

The 30-year-old had not won a title since her Brisbane triumph alongside Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the first week of the 2017 WTA season. As a result, Mirza’s ranking had slipped from No. 1 to seventh now. A new partner can definitely bring in new ideas and help Mirza find the spark that had gone missing.

Also Read: Top 10 Indian sportswomen

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Edited by Staff Editor
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