Tokyo Pan Pacific Open: Sania Mirza and Barbora Strycova reach final
Second seeds Sania Mirza and Barbora Strycova came back from a set down to book themselves a berth in the final of the $100, 000 Tokyo Pan Pacific Open with a 4-6, 6-3, 10-5 win over the unseeded duo of Gabriela Dabrowski and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez on Friday.
This is the second final for Mirza and Strycova who paired up for the first time in August. They emerged victorious in their first outing together at the Cincinnati Open.
The Indo-Czech pair, however, could not continue their good run at the US Open where they crashed out in the quarter-finals to the French Open champions and top seeds Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic.
But they have rebounded well at Tokyo which is their first tournament since that loss.
A slow start
For the second seeds, the semi-final was their second match of the day on Friday as early in the morning, they had to play their quarter-final which got postponed from Thursday. It was a breezy 6-2, 6-2 win over the Japanese-Chinese duo of Miyu Kato and Yifan Xu.
However, Mirza and Strycova could not show the same attacking intent right from the beginning in the semi-final. Playing two matches in a day might have taken a toll and the Indo-Czech combine needed some time before they could settle in this clash.
Dabrowski and Martinez Sanchez broke them twice to take the opening set 6-4.
But it was a completely different scene once Mirza and Strycova were back in the groove. They broke to surge ahead 2-0 and held on to that one-break lead to grab the second set 6-3.
Finally, a show of class
In the match tie-break too, they were able to impose themselves early. They carved out a crucial mini-break to go up 2-0 and even though the Spanish-Canadian team closed it to 4-5, the second seeds never let go of their slender lead.
They built on it further to race ahead to 7-4 before wrapping up 10-5. The match lasted 1 hour 18 minutes.
In the final, they will meet the winner of the other semi-final between the third seeds Raquel Atawo/Abigail Spears and the unseeded team of Chen Liang/Zhaoxuan Yang. Mirza will aim to win this tournament for the third time to add to the 2013 and 2014 titles she won alongside Cara Black.