28-year old Sania Mirza, WTA World no. 1 in women’s doubles tennis, has won three mixed doubles Grand Slams over her career – two with Mahesh Bhupathi (Australian Open 2009, French Open 2012), and one with Bruno Soares (US Open 2014). However, as high as she had soared in the women’s doubles rankings, no. 1 as of now, she had only reached one previous Grand Slam Final – the French Open final in 2011 with Elena Vesnina.
Therefore, it was poetic that she was with Vesnina once again, but on opposite sides of the net for her second doubles Slam final. The top seeds faced the second seeds (Vesnina and Makarova) in what was an enthralling match to watch. Martina Hingis, who later went on to win another Slam with an Indian (mixed doubles with young Leander Paes), was Sania’s partner. Hingis has a history of this – she has partnered with Bhupathi and Paes at different points of her comeback after 2006 too. This time, there was to be no denying Mirza her first ladies doubles title. In her mind, she deserved it, which is why she and Hingis made a resounding comeback in the final set to win it 7-5, after losing the first and being down in both sets. With this title, Mirza has now conquered all four surfaces with her four Grand Slam titles, albeit over different formats. She remains India’s most successful women’s tennis player ever, and is now reaching the peak of her craft after having to let go of her singles’ career due to a recurring wrist injury.
Winning Wimbledon is perhaps the pinnacle of any tennis player’s career, singles or doubles. And with two Indians winning both the doubles formats with the same Swiss tennis legend, Wimbledon 2015 will go down in the history books as perhaps India’s proudest tennis moment. That Sania is keeping India’s doubles legend going after the break-up of Paes and Bhupathi is down to the two men too, with both of them having mentored her over the years.
Sania and Hingis got together only earlier this year for the Indian Wells Masters event, winning their first tournament together—beating these same opponents. They again defeated them in the Miami Masters Final a week later. However, they didn’t enjoy a stellar claycourt season, falling in the quarters of the French Open.
Hingis is only the second woman this year after American Bethanie Mattek-Sands to win 3 Grand Slam Doubles titles.