In a dream-like performance in closing stages of the match, Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza snatched a thrilling victory from the jaws of defeat. In a remarkable turnaround, the top seeded women’s pair clawed back from 2-5 in the decider to win five straight games and stun the powerful Russian team of Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina. After 36 games, one tiebreak and a stay of 2½ hours on the court, the Swiss-Indian combo won their first Grand Slam title since they began playing together less than 4 months ago. In all, it was Hingis’ fourth Wimbledon title but it came 17 years after she won her third. As a 16 year old, Hingis had shocked the global tennis fraternity by winning the women’s singles in 1997. But Saturday’s victory was sweeter for Hingis/Sania since it was achieved against a formidable Russian team, who commanded the match for most part and at 5-2 in the final set; they were already on the verge of a certain victory. For Sania Mirza, it was a historic achievement since no Indian women has ever won the women’s doubles title at Wimbledon. None other than India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi was amongst the firsts to send her a congratulatory message.
The match started on Center Court after Serena Williams had won the Ladies Singles title earlier. It was bright sunshine as the Swiss-Indian pair took to court against the Russians. The top seeds had a 2-0 head-to-head advantage over the second-seeded Russians after beating them in the finals at Indian Wells and Miami a couple of months ago. But past records don’t count on the match-day form. The Russians started strongly by breaking Sania in the very first game of the match by a fantastic net-play from Vesnina, who smashed a volley decisively. The Swiss-Indian pair, however, broke back immediately, when Vesnina served next. Yet again Hingis’ brilliance made that happen, when her marvelous lob resulted in the top seed holding two break points, second of which they converted. The set went on serves until 5-5 but Hingis was broken in the 11th game that was full of terrific groundstrokes from Makarova. In the 12th game, Makarova served for the set and the Russians clinched the first set 7-5.
Hingis/Sania missed two break chances early in the second set but the Russian women were too powerful with their net play to deny them. The fight in the second set was close as it finally went to the tiebreak. Hingis/Sania leveled up set scores by winning the second set. In the third set, the Russian pair was dominant as they took a commanding 5-2 lead. After the top seeds won their service game, Makarova and Vesnina looked like the title winners as Makarova began serving for the match at 5-3. However, Hingis and Mirza produced amazing performance, when it was most needed and brought the score to 5-5, before play had to be suspended for 10 minutes to retract the roof for floodlights as natural light was not good enough. When the players came back, Hingis/Sania held their serve to lead 6-5 and then broke the Russians to complete a miraculous 5-7, 7-6, 7-5 victory.
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