Top seeds Sania Mirza, who was the defending champion at the Apia International in Sydney, and her new partner Barbora Strycova, today finished in second place at the tournament, with rivals Timea Babos and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova taking a straight sets, 6-4, 6-4 win.
The Hungarian-Russian pair successfully broke Mirza and Strycova once in the first set, with the top seeds unable to break back. The second set saw the action ramped up significantly, with Babos and Pavlyuchenkova racing ahead as Mirza appeared to mount a full scale attack with her traditionally wristy, aggressive forehand. The Indian and Strycova then proceeded to set up a strong defense against their rivals, with shots getting increasingly speedier and with more spin.
The rallies got longer in the second set, and early on, Babos and Pavluychenkova took a 4-1 lead, at which point it had looked to be all over for the Indo-Czech pair. But the two rallied together as Mirza sent some incredibly close shots to the other side of the net. Some big serves looked to be almost on the line, but safely scored the pair some valuable points.
Quickly, a break back helped Mirza and Strycova come back to trail 3-4 and keep themselves firmly in the game.
The two pulled back to trail 4-5 in the final set, and even within the final game of the match, Mirza and Strycova dragged the match to deuce.
Given the no-Ad scoring rule in women’s matches, the server has the upper hand, and it was Babos and Pavlyuchenkova who served for the match at 40-40, taking an eventual 6-4, 6-4 win.
The loss also means Sania Mirza, as the defending champion, will lose points on last year.