July 10, 2015 was a happy day for Indian tennis lovers as Sania Mirza and Leander Paes both cruised into the doubles finals. But to a large extent, the credit rests with their common partner Martina Hingis of Switzerland. In her new reincarnation, Hingis has acquired the expertise of champion doubles player 20 years after she excelled on tennis courts as an unbeatable singles superstar. Steffi Graf was in her final years of tennis and the Williams sisters were yet to hit the tennis courts. In 1997, Hingis won her only Wimbledon title as a 16-year old by beating Czech Republic’s Jana Novotna in three sets. That was the year, in which Hingis’ dominance among women tennis players reached a zenith as she won every Grand Slam. Ligament injuries forced her to retire at age 22 in 2002. Afterwards, she couldn’t force a full comeback in the era, when the Williams sisters had begun ruling with a crushing dominance. Now Hingis is back. In a related article in kridangan.com on July 06, 2015, this author wrote about how the former women’s no.1 player was playing a key role in her doubles partnerships with India’s Sania Mirza and Leander Paes. In two doubles semifinals played on Friday, Hingis demonstrated her acumen in leading Sania to women’s doubles final and Paes into the mixed finals.
Martina Hingis was nonchalant as she featured in two doubles semifinals within a few hours. The first was the women’s doubles with India’s Sania Mirza, who stands on the verge of her first ever women’s doubles trophy in a Grand Slam tournament. More than anybody else, Sania has to thank Hingis to make that happen. In their match against USA’s fifth seeded pair of Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears, Hingis/Sania needed just 56 minutes for their lop-sided 6-1, 6-2 victory that took them to the final. This is Sania’s first doubles final at Wimbledon although she won the girls’ doubles title with Russia’s Alisa Kleybanova 12 years ago. The Swiss-Indian pair broke their opponents’ service twice in the first set and that was enough. There were three break points against Hingis/Sania but they saved them all. The Americans faced the heat in the second set as well and it showed in the three double faults that they committed. Like in the first set, Hingis/Sania broke the Americans twice and wrapped up the match. For the title game, Hingis/Sania will play against the Russian second seeds Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina.
A few hours later, Martina Hingis was back on the court with Leander Paes for the mixed doubles semifinal against USA’s top seeds Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Mike Bryan. The seventh seeded Indo-Swiss pair won the match 6-3, 6-4 in 72 minute riding on their better performance on break opportunities. Both pairs earned six break-points against each other and while Hingis/Paes converted thrice; Mattek-Sands/Mike Bryan could only do it once. For winning their second Grand Slam final together, Hingis/Paes will have to defeat the Austrian-Hungarian combo of Alexander Peya/Timea Babos, who triumphed over Spain’s Anabel Medina Garrigues and Sweden’s Robert Lindstedt.
There were more cheers for India as Sumit Nagpal entered the boys’ doubles semifinal with Vietnam’s Nam Hoang Ly beating the Japanese pair of Y.Takahashi and J.Yamasaki 6-2, 6-3. For the place in the final, Nagpal/Ly will play against Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic and Norway’s Casper Ruud.