HYDERABAD:Partnering five-time Grand Slam singles winner Martina Hingis for the first time, Sania Mirza clinched her 24th WTA doubles title at Indian Wells on Sunday, outclassing the more experienced Russian pair of Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina 6-3, 6-4.
“Any win at this level is exciting and it’s thrilling to win my 24th WTA doubles title with Martina as my partner,” said Sania in an e-mail interview.
She will now jump to a career high of World No 3 in the women’s doubles rankings.
Incidentally, Hingis had bagged the Australian Open mixed doubles title with the legendary Leander Paes in January. Sania had opted for Chinese Taipei’s Hsiesh Su-Wei at the start of the year but split within two months of their partnership.
She went for the more experienced Hingis, currently ranked No 7 in the world, and the 28-year-old Hyderabad star straightaway jelled with Hingis in their first tournament together. Such was their dominance that they did not drop a single set throughout the tournament. “We combined extremely well and won the title without dropping a set. That is quite incredible,” Sania added.
According to the Hyderabadi, they could form a dangerous pair, since they complement each other. “She’s very skillful and has a lot of guile in her game. Her backhand complements my forehand and that make us a dangerous team.”
In fact, one of the reasons for Sania to split with Su-Wei was that she was not comfortable playing with her. By her own admission, they were struggling to make adjustments in the five tournaments they played together.
Sania, however, said she had no difficulty with the 34-year-old Hingis as the Swiss player is one of the most experienced players on the circuit. “We’re now looking forward to the other three Grand Slam tournaments this year.”
Sania, who has a wonderful record at Indiana Wells having reached the final on four occasions, pointed out that the fast conditions suited her game. “I also get a lot of support from my family, who live in California.”
She admitted that she was playing the best tennis of her career over the last two years. “Yes, I’ve probably been playing at the peak of my career over the last couple of years and will be ranked at a career high of World No 3. The number one spot now seems achievable with a bit of luck,” she noted.
Sania feels her hard work and perseverance has seen her rise in world tennis. “It’s years of hard work that can yield results and tennis is such a global sport and nothing comes easy.”
The Telangana brand ambassador is now eager to play in Hyderabad in the Fed Cup next month. “It has been a long time since I played in my home city and I’m looking forward to it.”