Sania Mirza winning the WTA Tour Finals and Saketh Myneni/ Sanam Singh winning the ATP Challenger doubles title in Pune were the highlights of the week that went by in Indian tennis.
Sania Mirza’s Biggest Doubles Triumph!!
Sania Mirza added yet another feather to her much-decorated cap as she won the WTA Tour Finals with partner Cara Black – the biggest title in tennis outside of the four Grand Slams and the Olympics. Sania Mirza and Black may have just about survived in their first two matches. The Indo-Zimbawe pair saved one match point against Spears/ Kops-Jones and three matchpoints against Peschke/ Srebotnik, but they thrived in the final against defending champions Shuai Peng/ Su-Wei Hsieh. Sania Mirza/ Black dropped the first game of the match, but then reeled off 12 games in a row, to win 6-1, 6-0 in just one hour.
The win is worth $500,000 in prize money for the duo and 1,500 ranking points for each player and completes a brilliant three-month run for the Indian in which she also won the US Open mixed doubles title, the Asian Games mixed doubles gold and women’s doubles bronze besides the season-ending WTA Championships. Sania will partner Hsieh next year as Black is uncertain of her playing schedule for 2015. The Indian has firmly set her sights on the elusive Grand Slam women’s doubles title and the World No. 1 ranking.
Saketh Myneni and Sanam Singh Win the Pune Challenger Doubles Title
After winning the ATP Challenger title in Indore, Saketh Myneni continued his excellent run in the singles, beating top seed Aleksandr Nedovyesov for the second time in five days en route to reaching the semi-finals, where his eight-match winning streak was finally brought to a halt by Japan’s Yuichi Sugita, who went on to win the title.
But Myneni did come away with a title in the doubles with partner Sanam Singh. as they defeated the top seeded Ratiwatana twins in the final to claim their third ATP Challenger title of the season.
Elsewhere in the singles draw in Pune, Yuki Bhambri managed to get to the quarter-finals but it was a disappointing week for Somdev Devvarman, who lost in the second round for the second week in a row, and teenager Ramkumar Ramanathan, who was beaten in the first round by Sugita.
Paes and Bopanna Lose Early in Basel
While Mirza was creating history, the Indian men had another forgetful week on the ATP circuit. Leander Paes, playing with Marcin Matkowski, lost in the second round to eventual champions Nenad Zimonjic/ Vasek Pospisil in Basel while Rohan Bopanna’s new partnership with Daniel Nestor started with a first-round loss at the same event.
Indian Eves in ITF Action
While all the Indian men congregated in Pune for the ATP Challenger, the women were traveling abroad for ITF events across the globe. At the $15K event in Phuket, Natasha Palha and Nidhi Chilumula qualified for the main draw. Palha won her first round match over seventh seed Jia-Jing Lu, also her doubles partner this week, but lost in the second round to Japan’s Yuuki Tanaka. Both Palha and Chilumula lost in the first round of the doubles draw.
At the ITF $10K event in Egypt, qualifier Visesh Vishnu beat Luzia Ryskova before losing to second seed Elena Teodora Cadar while lucky loser Amrita Mukherjee lost in the first round to top seed Polina Leykina and at the $10K ITF Greece event, eighth seed Sharamadaa Baluu reached the second round where she lost to Karolina Muchova 3-6, 6-3, 3-6. Baluu did reach the semi-finals of the doubles event with partner Olga Parres Azcotia.
In the rankings this week, Sania holds on to the No. 6 spot, now just a few hundred points behind her partner Black, who is at No. 4. Ankita Raina drops 4 spots to No. 324 while she climbs 6 spots to No. 304 in the singles rankings.
Among the men, Myneni climbs 42 spots to No. 241 in singles while Ramanathan climbs 3 spots to No. 223 – both career-bests. Meanwhile, top-ranked Indian Somdev Devvarman is up 4 positions to No. 135. In the doubles rankings, Myneni climbs 30 spots to No. 155 while partner Singh is up 27 spots to No. 150. Higher up in the doubles rankings, Paes is up one position to No. 29 while Bopanna drops 2 spots to No. 30.