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Tokyo Olympics 2020: Sania Mirza / Ankita Raina's projected path to the women's doubles final

Sania Mirza
Sania Mirza
ANALYST

Sania Mirza is gearing up to represent India in a record fourth Olympics. The Indian ace will partner Ankita Raina in the women's doubles event at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Mirza and Raina will undoubtedly be gunning for top honors, but they will have to battle their way past some tough opponents.

The Indian duo have landed in the top half of the draw, which also features gold medal favorites Barbora Krejcikova-Katerina Siniakova and Elena Vesnina-Veronika Kudermetova.

Here's a look at the projected draw for Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina in the women's doubles event at the Tokyo Olympics.

Sania Mirza / Ankita Raina's 1st round opponents: Nadiia Kichenok / Lyudmyla Kichenok

The Indian duo will open their campaign against the experienced Ukrainian pairing of Nadiia Kichenok and Lyudmyla Kichenok. The twin sisters, who have been playing together since 2011, have won three titles, including the 2018 WTA Elite Trophy.

Mirza also partnered Nadiia Kichenok at the start of the 2020 season. The duo went on to win the Hobart International. Thus, they will be familiar with each other's games.

Sania Mirza (L) with Nadiia Kichenok at the 2020 Hobart International.
Sania Mirza (L) with Nadiia Kichenok at the 2020 Hobart International.

Sania Mirza / Ankita Raina's likely 2nd round opponents: Alison Riske / Nicole Melichar

If Mirza and Raina come through their first-round clash, they could well run into the American pairing of Nicole Melichar and Alison Riske.

Melichar, a doubles specialist, has reached a total of three Grand Slam finals (two in women's doubles). Riske has also enjoyed some success on the doubles court in recent years and the duo could be a threat to the Indian pair.

Checkout: Tokyo Olympics Medal Tally

Sania Mirza / Ankita Raina's likely quarterfinal opponents: Kiki Bertens / Demi Schuurs or Elena Vesnina / Veronika Kudermetova

The toughest test for the Indian duo could come in the quarterfinals, where they are likely to meet either the third seeds Kiki Bertens and Demi Schuurs or 2021 Wimbledon finalists Elena Vesnina and Veronika Kudermetova.

Both Schuurs and Vesnina are world-class doubles players. In fact, the Russian is the defending champion in the women's doubles discipline, having triumped alongside Ekaterina Makarova in Rio.

Vesnina and Kudermetova are amongst the favorites for the gold medal, so Raina and Mirza will certainly have to bring their 'A' game in order to upset the Russians.

Sania Mirza / Ankita Raina's likely semifinal opponents: Barbora Krejcikova / Katerina Siniakova

Barbora Krejcikova (L) and Katerina Siniakova are the top seeds.
Barbora Krejcikova (L) and Katerina Siniakova are the top seeds.

Things don't get any easier for Mirza and Raina as they could face the top-seeded pairing of Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova in the semifinals.

Krejcikova pulled off a rare double at Roland Garros, winning both the singles and doubles crowns. Krejcikova and Siniakova have won three Grand Slams together and are the overwhelming favorites for the gold medal in Tokyo.

Sania Mirza / Ankita Raina's likely opponents in the final: Ena Shibahara / Shuko Aoyama - home hopes

If the Indian duo navigate their way through the competitive top half of the draw, they are projected to face second seeds and local favorites Ena Shibahara and Shuko Aoyama in the gold medal match.

Shibahara and Aoyama enjoy playing on hardcourts, which was evident from their dominant run to the title at the Miami Open earlier this year.

But the Japanese duo will first need to find a way to come through the bottom half of the draw, which also features the Chinese duo of Chan Hao-ching/Latisha Chan and American pair of Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Jessica Pegula.

Check Out: Tokyo Olympics 2021 Schedule

Edited by Arvind Sriram
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