Sania Mirza/Martina Hingis continue dream run, through to Round 3 at Australian Open
The top seeded women’s doubles pair of Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis beat Lyudmyla and Nadiia Kichenok in straight sets 6-2, 6-3, to continue their unstoppable run in 2016.
The 63-minute match saw a clinical performance from the Indo-Swiss pair, who are joint World No. 1. With accurate serving and strong cross-court coverage, the pair hit 18 winners across two sets, with 11 unforced errors to their opponents’ mammoth 22.
The 23-year-old Ukrainian twins were no match for the firepower of Mirza and Hingis, who came into today’s match on the back of a convincing straight-sets victory over Teliana Pereira and Mariana Duque-Marino.
The top-ranked pair are now on a 32-match-winning streak, having matched the longest past stretch of consecutive wins – 28 – with their quarter-finals victory at the Apia International in Sydney. They would go on to win that title, which was not their first of 2016; the two won top prize at the Brisbane International only a week prior.
Mirza and Hingis have won Wimbledon and the US Open since they came together as doubles partners last year in addition to their immense success on the WTA circuit. They will play Roberta Vinci and Svetlana Kuznetsova in the third round.
The previous longest streak for consecutive wins in the women's doubles, held for two decades, stood with the Puerto-Rican/Belarusian pair of Gigi Fernandez and Natasha Zvereva before it was broken by Mirza and Hingis, while the all-time record is held by the immensely successful Czech pair of Jana Novotna and Helena Sukova, who won a mammoth 44 matches in a row.
At last year’s Australian Open, Mirza, partnered in the women’s doubles by Hsieh Su-Wei, had crashed out in the second round of the tournament, while Hingis, partnered by 2015 US Open singles winner Flavia Pennetta, exited in the third. It was Mirza’s one-time doubles partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands who won the eventual title, with her own partner, Czech ace Lucie Safarova. The two also won the French Open title.
Mirza will also play the mixed doubles today, partnered by the top seed in the men’s doubles – Croat ace Ivan Dodig. The two will take on the young all-Australian combine of couple Ajla Tomljanovic and Nick Kyrgios, the latter of whom was knocked out by Rohan Bopanna in the men’s doubles, and then yesterday in the singles by 6th seed Tomas Berdych.
Wimbledon doubles winner Dodig and his partner Marcelo Melo reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open last year, and won the 2015 French Open. That victory is expected to go soundly the way of the Indo-Croat combine, both top-seeded and with significantly more experience than their young Australian rivals.
India’s Rohan Bopanna has also had success with partner Florin Mergea, with the pair progressing to Round 3 with a victory over Lukas Dlouhy and Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic, while Leander Paes and partner Jeremy Chardy have crashed out, as have Mahesh Bhupathi and his Luxembourgish partner Gilles Muller.
Hingis had been due to play with Paes in the first round of the mixed doubles, but that match stood cancelled due to rain on court.
The winning run stretches to Mixed Doubles as well
It was not just in the Women’s Doubles that Mirza tasted success. Partnering Ivan Dodig of Croatia, they beat Nick Kyrgios and Ajla Tomljanovic in the opening round 7-5 6-1 on Saturday.
The first set saw both pairs serve 4 aces each but the decisive stat of the set was the total points won in the match. The Indo-Bosnia pair won a total of 39 points as compared to 29 for their opponent even though the latter won more number of points in the second set.
Mirza and Dodig also converted 4 out of the 14 break points as compared to 1 out of the 5 for Kyrgios and Tomljanovic and won double the number of winners(34) to 17 of their counterpart and eventually clinched the match in their favour.