In an unprecedented achievement, three Indian tennis players brought laurels to the nation with title victories in mixed doubles, women’s doubles and boys’ doubles. After Sania’s title victory in women’s doubles on Saturday, Leander Paes combined with Sania’s partner to score a crushing victory in mixed doubles and Sumit Nagal added the icing to the sweetest Indian cake by winning the boys’ doubles. Indian tennis fans couldn’t have asked for more. As this author has been reporting on these pages in earlier articles, it was finally Switzerland’s Martina Hingis, who played a pivotal role in two victories for the Indians with her ferocious performance. Hingis and Paes arrived on the Center Court on Sunday evening after Djokovic had defeated Roger Federer for his second successive Wimbledon title. But the Indo-Swiss combine didn’t have to stay too long. In one of the most one-sided matches of the tournament, Hingis and Paes handed a stunning 6-1, 6-1 defeat to their Austrian-Hungarian pair of Alexander Peya and Timea Babos to win the mixed doubles crown. Then India’s 17-year old Sumit Nagal added further to national glory by winning the Boys’ doubles trophy with Vietnam’s Nam Hoang Ly. The Indo-Vietnamese pair defeated the American-Japanese fourth seeds, Reilly Opelka and Akira Santillan in a little over an hour.
After a hard-earned women’s doubles title victory with Sania Mirza on Saturday, the 34-year old Swiss Martina Hingis was back on Sunday with Leander Paes for the mixed doubles final match against the fifth seeded Alexander Peya of Austria and Timea Babos of Hungary. Playing explosive tennis in the first set, they shocked their opponents. The Swiss-Indian pair broke, when Babos served in the fourth game and again, when Peya served in the sixth. The 6-1 first set victory took just 19 minutes. Paes and Hingis continued to keep the pressure on Peya/Babos in the second set and began by breaking Babos early. There was no stopping them as Peya/babos looked resigned to their fate. Babos lost her serve for the second time as well and Hingis/Paes obtained a cozy cushion. Finally, Hingis served out the set, when Paes smashed a volley winner and the Swiss-Indian combo finished with a 6-1, 6-1 victory in mere 40 minutes. It was 42-year old Paes’ fourth mixed doubles title at Wimbledon while it was first for Hingis though the Swiss now has four women’s doubles trophies. Amazingly, the first women’s doubles title for Hingis came as a 15 year-old, when she played with Czech Republic’s Jana Novotna in 1996.
Sumit Nagal completed the glorious day for India with a victory in the Boys’ doubles final. Nagal had a Vietnamese partner Nam Hoang Ly for his campaign in Wimbledon 2015. The Delhi born lad had worked his way to the final and finished creditably with Ly as the pair defeated Reilly Opelka of USA and Akira Santillan of Japan 7-6, 6-4 in the 63 minute final. The first set went to tiebreak after both pairs broke each other once. Nagal/Ly excelled in the tiebreak and broke in the second set on a lone break opportunity. Afterwards, the Indo-Vietnamese simply held their serve and walked off with a 7-5, 6-4 victory to take the Boys’ doubles title.
Three Wimbledon titles on the last two days have gladdened the hearts of a large fraternity of Indian tennis fans, many of whom also had the opportunity to see the two victories on the last day. Along with a few national flags, the Indian tricolor was also seen flying outside the gates of the All-England Club before start of play on Sunday. Indian fans couldn’t have had a better sense of national pride as they looked up while crossing the promenade on way to the courts for watching the games.
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