Hot on the heels of their amazing 2015 run in women’s doubles, Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis celebrated New Year with another title. The Indo-Swiss pair won their 26th consecutive match that gave them women’s doubles crown at Brisbane International on Saturday. In the final, the world’s no.1 ranked women’s tennis duo defeated Germany’s Angelique Kerber and Andrea Petkovic. In women’s singles final, Belarusian Victoria Azarenka ended a long-standing title drought after beating Germany’s Angelique Kerber. In men’s singles draw, Roger Federer and Milos Raonic have set up for themselves a rematch of last year’s final that the Swiss Maestro had won..
Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis look unstoppable at the moment. The WTA’s no.1 ranked women’s pair from India and Switzerland started the year 2016 with victory at Brisbane International. In the final on Saturday, Sania/Hingis took a little over an hour in beating the German team of Angelique Kerber/Andrea Petkovic. Sania/Hingis faced the heat from the German wildcards in first set that lasted for 43 minutes before they prevailed with a score of 7-5. The set was full of break exchanges and Sania/Hingis needed to bring out their best. Once that was done, it became easy for the top-ranked pair in second set. They broke the Germans twice and finished the match 7-5, 6-1 in 70 minutes. Sania/Hingis extended their winning streak to 26 matches and are close to breaking the 1994 record of 28 straight wins by Gigi Fernandez and Natasha Zvereva. The Brisbane title was also the sixth consecutive crown for Sania/Hingis after their victories in US Open, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Beijing and WTA Finals. Incidentally, Sania and Hingis have already recorded one title win each at Brisbane earlier with different partners. Hingis won last year with Germany’s Sabine Lisicki while Sania took the 2013 title with USA’s Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
It has been over 28 months since Victoria Azarenka took a major title after she won at Cincinnati Open in August 2013, when she defeated Serena Williams. 7 years ago, Vika was the champion at Brisbane and to her huge relief, the second title fell in her lap, when she defeated Germany’s Angelique Kerber on Saturday. The double Australian Open champion and former world no.1 had the misfortune of lingering on sidelines due to injury and her form took a beating in recent times. But like a brave heart she didn’t throw in the towel. Vika didn’t drop a set in her run up to the final and easily beat world no.10 German in the championship match. All through 2015, Vika had looked good but luck deserted her in many tournaments. After dropping just 6 games in quarterfinal and semifinals taken together, world no.22 Azarenka faced Kerber, who reached the final after beating Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2, 6-3. In the final, however, Kerber couldn’t keep pace with Azarenka’s powerful game. As the match got underway, both players looked in fine touch but Azarenka was the first to break Kerber’s service in the fifth game of the first set. Though the German broke back immediately, Vika responded in the next with another break and pocketed the first set. Afterwards, it was the Belarusian all the way as she wound up the proceedings with a 6-3, 6-1 victory. Azarenka’s victory may have sent a scary message among women’s ranks ahead of the Australian Open as the former world no.1 looked all set to go up the ladder in near future.
In men’s draw, Canada’s Milos Raonic reached the final by defeating Australia’s Bernard Tomic in a match that could have gone either way. There were no service breaks in the match but if Raonic won, it was because of his superior play on crunch points. The big serving Canadian led 5-1 in first and second set tiebreaks but Tomic fought back to level on both occasions. However, Tomic made some unforced errors and gave in to Raonic’s superior game as the match ended 7-6, 7-6 in Raonic’s favor. In the final on Sunday, Raonic will face defending champion Roger Federer, who defeated Austria’s Dominic Thiem 6-1, 6-4 in the other semifinal. It will be a rematch of last year’s final when Federer had defeated Raonic in three sets 6-4, 6-7, 6-4.