The born-again women’s doubles team of India’s Sania Mirza and USA’s Bethanie Mattek-Sands made a great start together in the New Year. The top-seeded Indo-US pair won the women’s doubles crown at 2017 Brisbane International Tournament by defeating second-seeded Russians Ekaterina Makarova/Elena Vesnina in straight sets in Saturday’s final. In women’s singles final, Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova won the women’s singles title with an emphatic victory over Frenchwoman Alize Cornet. The men’s final will be played on Sunday between Japan’s Kei Nishikori and Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov. Third-seeded Nishikori stymied the challenge from the Swiss second-seed Stan Wawrinka while the seventh-seeded Dimitrov shocked top-seeded defending champion Milos Raonic of Canada. Sunday will also see the men’s doubles final between Australians Thanasi Kokkinakis/Jordan Thompson and the Luxembourg-USA pair of Giller Muller/Sam Querrey.
In the 2017 Brisbane International, India’s Sania Mirza her American partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands got off to a flying start in their newest association. Sania/Mattek-Sands had only one match, where they dropped a set and needed the match-tiebreak before winning. That was in their quarterfinal game against Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu and Russian Daria Kasatkina. But after Sania/Mattek-Sands won that match at 6-4, 4-6, 10-5, they didn’t face any difficulty in the semifinal. They went past Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-Wei and Germany’s Laura Siegemund 6-4, 6-3. Their opponents in the final, however, were second-seeded Russians Ekaterina Makarova/Elena Vesnina. But Sania and Mattek-Sands combined well to eke out a surprisingly easy 6-2, 6-3 victory. Sania had won at Brisbane with Mattek-Sands in 2013 as well and last year the Indian won the championship with Switzerland’s Martina Hingis. The only downside for Sania Mirza on staurday was the loss of her world no.1 ranking in women’s doubles. That honor went to her partner Mattek-Sands, who surpassed Sania on WTA ranking points after the Indian’s 91-week streak at the top.
The women’s singles final at Brisbane was a lop-sided affair. Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova began with an 18-minute beagle against Alize Cornet of France. Pliskova continued her steamrolling momentum in the second set, despite Cornet making a semblance of recovery. The Frenchwoman managed to win 3 games as Pliskova went through in 66 minutes with a 6-0, 6-3 result. Pliskova’s title win takes her above Dominika Cibulkova to fifth spot in the world rankings and it is an ideal build-up for the Czech woman as she heads to Melbourne for 2017 Australian Open beginning on January 16.
Men’s singles semifinal games were also upsets of sorts. While Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov upset world no.3 Canadian Milos Raonic in the first semifinal, Japan’s Kei Nishikori did the same to world no.4 Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland in the second. As for Dimitrov, he needed to work hard in the first set against Raonic but once he won that on tiebreak, there was no stopping the Bulgarian as he notched up the 7-6, 6-2 victory in 1 hour and 28 minutes. The second semifinal between Japan’s Kei Nishikori and Swiss Stan Wawrinka was nearly a replica of the first as Nishikori took the first set in tiebreak and yielded just 3 games in the second to win at 7-6, 6-3. On Sunday, Nishikori will try to record his first title win of the new season while Dimitrov could hope to spring some surprise on the Japanese.
Men’s doubles final on Sunday will feature the Australian pair of Thanasi Kokkinakis/Jordan Thompson playing against unseeded Giller Muller(Luxembourg)/Sam Querrey(USA). While Kokkinakis/Thompson scored a very easy 6-3, 6-1 victory over fourth-seeded pair of Canadian Daniel Nestor/Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin, Muller/Querrey entered the final without hitting a shot. Their Australian opponents Sam Groth/Chris Guccione were forced to withdraw due to a calf injury to Guccione.
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