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St Petersburg Ladies Trophy 2016: Mirza and Hingis stave off tough challenge to reach final

FEATURED COLUMNIST
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553   //    14 Feb 2016, 11:05 IST
Sania Mirza Martina Hingis St. Petersburg 2016
The Mirza-Hingis duo has been undefeated since the US Open last year

Third-seeded Spaniards Anabel Medina Garrigues and Arantxa Parra Santonja put Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis to a stern test but the top seeds ultimately came through 7-5, 6(6)-7, 10-6 to reach the final of St Petersburg Ladies Trophy 2016 on Saturday.

With this latest win, the irrepressible Indo-Swiss pair continues their incredible winning streak, which now stands at 39.

On Sunday, the World No. 1 duo will attempt to win their fourth title of the season as they lock horns with the unseeded Russian-Czech combine of Vera Dushevina and Barbora Krejcikova.

Hingis and Mirza have earlier triumphed at Brisbane, Sydney and the Australian Open in 2016 and are unbeaten since the US Open last year.

Great fightback from the third seeds

Anabel Medina Garrigues has won the French Open women’s doubles title in 2008 and 2009 and her vast experience came in handy as she and Parra Santonja took on the indomitable top seeds. Hingis and Mirza were the first to make the breakthrough, though, as they broke to go up 5-3 in the first set.

Some exceptional returns by the Spanish team saw them break back immediately but Mirza’s brilliant attacking game drew errors from the third seeds again. Hingis and Mirza thus wrapped up the first set 7-5.

The feisty Spaniards came out firing in the second set and quickly surged to a 4-0 lead, breaking the Indo-Swiss duo twice. The dramatic set, however, swiftly swung the other way as the top seeds grabbed four consecutive games from 1-5 down to level for 5-5.

After trading breaks, a tie-break ensued in which errors from Hingis’ racquet aided the Spaniards to seal the set after saving two match points.

Shaking off the setback of the previous set, Hingis and Mirza came charging out in the match tie-break and inched ahead 4-0 and then 6-1. The third seeds closed in to make it 6-8 but Hingis’ clever play came to the rescue and the Wimbledon and US Open champions pocketed the next two points to enter the final.

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FEATURED COLUMNIST
A freelance journalist based in Kolkata who is a diehard Rafael Nadal fan. She is also extremely passionate about India’s progress in sports and hopes to throw light on India’s unsung sports heroes through her articles. When not screaming her lungs out in support of her favourite sports stars, she can be seen reading, watching movies or immersed in planning her next travel destination!
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