WTA Finals 2016: Doubles draws released, Mirza and Hingis look to defend title together
The year-ending WTA Finals are currently underway in Singapore, where the top 8 singles players and doubles teams will have a chance to compete for the title of the year’s best player.
With the singles already underway, the doubles draws for the tournament were released today. The all-French pair of Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic are the top seeds here, with doubles No.1 Sania Mirza playing the tournament with former partner and World No. 2 Martina Hingis.
The successful Indo-Swiss pair, who split earlier this year, qualified for the tournament together – and hence will play as a pair in Singapore, although Mirza has since paired up with Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic, while Hingis joined forces with American Coco Vandeweghe.
Unlike the singles, where players are grouped into teams of four each, the quarter-final doubles matches have been drawn.
Caroline Garcia/Kristina Mladenovic  vs Julia Goerges/Karolina Pliskova 
Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Lucie Safarova  vs Timea Babos/Yaroslava Shvedova 
Ekaterina Makarova/Elena Vesnina  vs Andrea Hlavackova/Lucie Hradecka 
Sania Mirza/Martina Hingis  vs Yung-jan Chan/Hao-ching Chan 
Mirza and Hingis, who have both been in good form of late and won titles with their new partners as well, are the defending doubles champions in Singapore, beating Garbine Muguruza and Carla Suarez Navarro in the finals in 2015.
Garcia and Mladenovic, who together have won the French Open among a number of titles, are considered the favourites to win this year, but an on-song Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis could provide stiff competition.
That said, one might still consider the all-French combine to be the favourites winning here. Mirza and Hingis’ skills may have complemented each other well, but their inherent chemistry was crucial to the numerous titles they amassed together on the WTA Tour. Although the split is said to have been amicable, sources have suggested that it was initiated by Hingis due to Mirza’s dip in form at the time.
The Indian, however, bounced back in spectacular fashion from the split with Barbora Strycova, with the pair consistently making finals and winning titles; having come together just prior to the 2016 US Open, the Indo-Czech combine excelled on the Asian leg of the WTA tour. The pair were so successful in Japan and China that they had an outside chance at qualifying together for the WTA Finals, at one point reaching 10th on the Race to Singapore.
Had Mirza and Strycova reached eighth together, the pair would have qualified with each other, meaning that Mirza would have the option to play with either partner of her choosing.
Following the split from Hingis, Mirza, who had reached the joint World No. 1 spot with the Swiss ace, took the ranking alone after her win at the Western and Southern Open with Strycova; she followed that up immediately with a title in Connecticut with one-off partner Monica Niculescu of Romania.
Mirza recently completed eighty weeks as the World No. 1 ranked doubles player, the tenth highest in history and the highest of any Indian player in the world.