What’s the story?
Third seeds Sania Mirza and Barbora Strycova made it through to the semi-finals of the WTA Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships with a convincing 6-2, 7-5 win over the seventh seeded American pair of Abigail Spears and Katarina Srebotnik on Thursday. The match lasted just 1 hour 28 minutes.
Interestingly, Spears and Srebotnik were the same team who stopped the Indo-Czech pair in the semi-finals of the Qatar Open last week.
In case you didn’t know..
Mirza and Strycova joined forces in August last year after the Indian parted ways with the legendary Martina Hingis and they tasted success soon after. They won at Cincinnati and Tokyo, apart from reaching the final at Wuhan and the quarter-finals of the US Open.
This year, they made it to the summit clash of Sydney which happened to be their first tournament of 2017 together, besides the aforementioned semi-finals of Doha. However, the Australian Open turned out to be a dampener as they suffered a shock pre-quarter-final defeat to the Japanese duo of Eri Hozumi and Miyu Kato.
The heart of the matter
Mirza and Strycova produced a dominant performance in the first set and broke Spears and Srebotnik as many as three times. They secured an early break even in the second set and went up 2-0.
But a late resistance from the seventh seeds saw them level the set and break back the third seeds twice. Mirza and Strycova’s flawless conversion of break points came to their aid as they managed to finish the match in straight sets.
This was their second consecutive straight-sets victory at this tournament after having beaten Kiki Bertens and Johanna Larsson 6-3, 7-5 for a quarter-final spot on Wednesday.
Mirza and Strycova have a tough proposition up next as they face the second seeds and Olympic champions Elena Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova for a place in the final. Mirza has already faced the Russians once this year when she partnered Bethanie Mattek-Sands to the Brisbane title earlier in the year.
A good result at Dubai would do a world of good to the Indo-Czech pair before they embark on the back-to-back Premier Mandatory events at Indian Wells and Miami next month. Sania has been a former champion at Dubai and will hope to ride on the huge crowd support to repeat her 2013 glory.