Sania Mirza given a relatively easy draw at her comeback in Hobart International 2020
Former WTA no. 1 doubles player Sania Mirza is set to make her comeback after a 2-year long injury and maternity hiatus at the 2020 Hobart International, where she will play alongside Ukraine's Nadiia Kichenok in the doubles field.
Mirza and Kichenok received a direct entry into the main draw courtesy of the former no. 1 protected ranking, which she can use for about the next 12 months to avoid having to play lower-rung tournaments and qualifying draws.
The Indo-Ukranian duo have been handed a relatively easier draw than you would expect in a 16-pair field that features top pairs including Latisha Chan and Chan Hao-Ching form Chinese Taipei and Peng Shuai and Zhang Shuai from China. They have avoided playing a seeded opponent in their opening encounter, as the Mirza-Kichenok pair have drawn the relatively lightweight pairing of Georgia's Oksana Kalashnikova and Japan's Miyu Kato.
While there is bound to be some cagey play from the 33-year old following such a long absence form the tour, it remains to be seen if she will still manage to be as sharp as she was, say at the end of her breakthrough year in 2015.
When she is playing at her best, Mirza has the most destructive of forehands and is sharp as an eagle at the net. Her partnerships with Cara Black and Martina Hingis yielded some big results and while those two have since retired, there are plenty of partners to choose from on the tour.
Mirza has already confirmed her participation in the Australian Open alongside Kichenok and Rohan Bopanna, but her focus at this point will be to get over the early nerves on her return to the competitive tennis.
Mirza and Kichenok, if they win their opening match, will be thoroughly tested in the next round against either dangerous Americans Vania King and Christina McHale or the fourth seeds from Spain - Georgina Garcia Perez and Sara Sorribes Tormo. Things are bound to get tougher from there on and it will interesting to see Mirza can find her way through this new stage in her illustrious career.
Published 12 Jan 2020, 14:36 IST