Carrying the Tricolor
This has been a slow year for Indian tennis in the Grand Slams but we seem to be getting back on track. Today was the 1st Grand Slam title of the year for India and this time the winning team had an Indian other than Mahesh and Leander.
This time around, Sania Mirza won her maiden US Open and third Grand Slam mixed doubles title as she along with Brazilian partner Bruno Soares defeated the unseeded duo of Abigail Spears from USA and Santiago Gonzalez from Mexico 6-1 2-6 11-9.
Sania had come close earlier by reaching the Australian Open Mixed Doubles Final but today she was able to close out the match after a brief hiccup.
Avoiding Trouble at the Start of the Match
In the Womens Doubles semi final against Martina Hingis and Flavia Penetta it took Sania and her partner 2 games and eight points before they got on the scoreboard. Indian fans would have been worried when an early break point came up against the Indo-Brazilian pair in the first game. But it seems Sania had learnt from her shaky start yesterday to come out firing and in just 21 minutes the Indo-Brazilian pair were ahead by a set in which they hit 10 winners.
Rearguard action by Spears-Gonzalez
As the match progressed, Spears and Gonzalez showed that they were not going to be easy opponents and they even went on to level the match with a 6-2 win in the second set.This time it was the unseeded opponents who claimed the set with 9 winners helping ensure 2 breaks of serve.
An Up and Down Tie Breaker
To ensure timely completion of Mixed Doubles matches, instead of a deciding set the teams have to play a Deciding tie breaker, where the team that reaches 10 points first is the winner.
In a scrappy affair the Indo-Brazilian pair had a great start and held 5 match points at 9-4, only to lose their way due to a double fault by Sania Mirza and errors by both Sania Mirza and Bruno Soares. At 9-9 in the tie breaker, it was anybody’s game as the pair changed sides.
Bruno Takes Us Home
At this stage Bruno Soares won a volley exchange with Abigail Spears to reach a sixth match point. On the next point, Bruno hit a high topspin that was volleyed out by Abigail Spears , handing the top seeds with their first Mixed doubles title as a pair.
For the match, Sania Mirza and Bruno Soares scored 54 points in contrast to the 47 points scored by their opponents with their high percentage on first serve (80%) being a key difference in the match
What This Means For Sania Mirza
The TV Commentators called Sania the MVP (Most Valuable Player) of the match and her play stood out throughout the match. Sania Mirza has always had the weapons (a huge forehand and good volleying skills) to hurt opponents. This win will give her the confidence to continue what has been a good year for her in doubles.
Coming Up :
Sania has already qualified for the year ending Women’s World Doubles Championship along with partner Cara Black. However Sania’s next mission would be winning the gold medal at the Asian games in Incheon, South Korea, where she is likely to play in team events as well as Womens and Mixed Doubles. She will look forward to continuing her good form in Mixed Doubles in a potential pairing along with Leander Paes.