The last time people talked about the longest winning streak in women’s doubles matches was 22 years ago. Those days, the most talked about women’s doubles team of Puerto Rican Gigi Fernandez and Belarus’ Natasha Zvereva had scored their 28th successive match win in 1994 and their doubles combination was the most popular on WTA circuit. Gigi/Natasha won 14 Grand Slam titles together and nearly 80 on the WTA world-tour. Besides Czech Republic’s Martina Navaratilova and USA’s Pam Shriver, no other women’s pair had scaled such heights. That changed a little on Thursday morning, when the current world no.1 women’s team of Sania Mirza of India and Martina Hingis of Switzerland defeated Romania’s Raluca Olaru and Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova in a three-set semifinal. For Sania/Hingis, it was their 29th consecutive match victory after they equaled the record of 28 wins on trot held hitherto by Gigi and Natasha on Wednesday. If the Indo-Swiss pair continue playing the way they are doing now, they could scale new peaks in coming days. Besides achieving the landmark win, Sania/Hingis also came within one match from lifting another WTA title in the new tennis season, which is just two weeks old. With the Australian Open only 4 days away, reaching two successive WTA finals and finishing victorious in one with a chance to win another is a great morale booster for Sania and Hingis. For Indian tennis fans, Rohan Bopanna’s entry into men’s doubles semifinal will bring added cheers as the Indian star won his quarterfinal with Romania’s Florin Mergea. On Wednesday, Belinda Bencic of Switzerland and Simona Halep of Romania entered women’s singles semifinals and they will be playing on Thursday to claim places in the final. Men’s singles quarterfinals have also been scheduled for Thursday. Two other women; Russian veteran Svetlana Kuznetsova and Monica Puig of Puerto Rico also reached the semifinals.
In their less than one year’s association, India’s Sania Mirza and Switzerland’s Martina Hingis have moved on impressively. They won the season-ending WTA Finals and began the New Year by taking the Brisbane International title last week. Yesterday at the Apia International Sydney, the Indo-Swiss pair recorded their 28th consecutive match victory, when they defeated the Chinese duo of Chen Liang and Shuai Peng 6-2, 6-3 in the quarterfinals. With that, Sania/Hingis equaled the record of 28 consecutive WTA match victories, hitherto held by Gigi Fernandez of Puerto Rico and Natasha Zvereva of Belarus. On Thursday, the Indo-Swiss pair went past Gigi/Natasha and recorded their 29th consecutive match victory, when they defeated Romanian Raluca Olaru and Kazakh Yaroslava Shvedova in the semifinal. In the process, Sania and Hingis also reached another WTA final. The match, however, was far from the cakewalk many people had expected. The Indo-Swiss duo lost the first set 4-6 before rallying to win the second 6-3. That necessitated the match tiebreak and a bit of hard work for Sania/Hingis. They finally came through and entered the Apia International final with a 4-6, 5-3, 10-8 victory.
In a men’s doubles match, India’s Rohan Bopanna playing with his Romanian partner Florin Mergea entered the semifinal with a 6 -2, 6-4 victory over Australians John Peers and Sam Groth. Men’s singles quarterfinals and several other matches were suspended due to heavy rain in Sydney on Thursday but in two women’s singles quarterfinals on Wednesday, Swiss teenager and WTA’s most promising player Belinda Bencic defeated Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova 6-0, 2-6, 6-4 while Romania’s Simona Halep got the better of Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic with a 6-4, 7-5 victory. In two other women’s quarterfinal matches, world no.94 Monica Puig shocked Australia’s world no.27 Samantha Stosur with a 6-4, 6-4 defeat while Russia’s 30-year old veteran Svetlana Kuznetsova defeated Italy’s Sara Errani 7-6, 6-0.
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