Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis are on a roll as they continue their dream run of successes as women’s doubles partners. In less than a month’s time, the top-seeded Indo-Swiss women have won three prestigious titles, the last one being the $ 731,000 WTA Family Circle Cup at Charleston on April 12, 2015. Earlier this month on April 5, they took the Miami Open title at Florida and on March 21, 2015, they began their campaign by winning at Indian Wells. In the final at Charleston, Mirza/Hingis defeated the Australian-Croatian pair of Casey Dellacqua and Darija Jurak 6-0, 6-4. The victory brought a new feather to Sania Mirza’s cap as she became the first woman player from India to achieve world number one rank in doubles.
The 43-year old Family Circle Cup has a pioneering role in women’s professional tennis with stupendous milestones that have directly influenced the popularity of women’s professional tennis. On a historical perspective, few tournaments can compare with Family Circle Cup, which is the longest running tennis event for women in the WTA circuit. After the first 28 years since its first edition in 1973, the Family Circle Cup moved from Hilton Head to its current home in South Carolina’s Charleston city. The state-of-the-art venue not only serves as home for the Premier WTA event, it has an easy accessibility for the city residents to one of the finest tennis facilities in the South-East America. The past roster of Family Circle Cup winners boasts of such legendary names as; Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Tracy Austin, Steffi Graf, Gabriela Sabatini, Martina Hingis, Jennifer Capriati, Venus Williams, Justine Henin, Serena Williams, and Caroline Wozniacki. For Hingis, whose last appearance in 2001 ended as a singles runner-up, won the singles titles in 1997 and 1999. In 1997, Hingis also claimed the doubles title playing with Mary Joe Fernandez. Therefore, Sunday’s victory in the doubles was her fourth Family Circle Cup title.
In the final, Mirza/Hingis blew away the challenge of Australian Casey Dellacqua and Croatian Darija Jurak 6-0 6-4 in just 57 minutes. The Indo-Swiss pair needed just 22 minute to take the opening set 6-0. In the second set, the Australian/Croat combo broke the top seed in the first game but Mirza/Hingis broke right back and opened a big 4-1 lead. But Dellacqua/Jurak fought back and broke when Sania Mirza was serving for the championship. Perhaps the enormity of the upcoming achievement made the Indian nervous as she dropped her serve. But the duo were unfazed. Putting the break of serve behind them, Mirza/Hingis broke their opponents in the 10th game to win their third WTA title in a row. Since they started playing together as a team, Sania and Hingis have won 14 matches and lost none. Spread over three tournaments; the Indo-Swiss combo has lost only three sets in those 14 matches. They have already become the no.1 team for the Race to Singapore, the season-finale, where top-8 teams compete at the end of year.
The victory gave Sania Mirza 470 points and her tally reached 7965, far beyond Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci’s 7640. Before Sania Mirza, only Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhuapthi had attained the top rank when sat atop men’s doubles circuit in late 1990s.
In the women’s singles, Germany’s fifth seed Angelique Kerber won against USA’s Madison Keys in three tough sets. The 27-year-old Kerber trailed 1-4 in the final set but raised her game to win the next six out of the seven games to carve out a 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 victory.
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