Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza stay on course at WTA Finals in Singapore

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SINGAPORE - Looking to end their nearly perfect season with a ninth title, Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza got out to early leads in each sets against No.6 seeds Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spearsand never looked back, winning their first round robin match at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, 6-4, 6-2.

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"I think we played pretty well; it was nice to get that break really early in both sets. Sania came out with some great serves when it was needed. We were able to hold on and finish off," Hingis said after the match.

Mirza remains undefeated in Singapore (4-0), having captured the title last year with partner Cara Black, but has gone from strength to strength with the Swiss Miss, capping their initial successes in Indian Wells, Miami, and Charleston with a first major title at Wimbledon. Since arriving to Flushing in search of a second major, Mirza and Hingis haven't lost a match, riding a winning streak that now totals at 18 after titles at the US Open, Guangzhou, Wuhan, and Beijing.

"It's always great to come back to a tournament where you've done really well in the past. It's great to come back to Singapore," the No.1 ranked doubles player said. "I always keep saying this, but it's as close to home for me as possible. It was great to get that first win, and just to warm-up - we haven't played together in a couple of weeks, so it was great to get that win today."

While the top seeds lead the Red Group, rivals Chan Hao-Ching and Chan Yung-Jan got off to a good start in the White Group. The No.3 seeds - and the last team to beat "Santina" at the Western & Southern Open - edged past No.5 seed Caroline Garcia (who is coming off a run to the final of the WTA Rising Stars Invitational - and Katarina Srebotnik, 6-4, 7-6(4).

"We were a little bit nervous, but definitely excited, and it was quite a good first match for us," said elder sister Yung-Jan, who also goes by Latisha. "They're not a weak team; everyone here could be in the finals of a Grand Slam. Everybody's trying their best, and I'm happy we got the advantage in the first round."

The Chan sisters didn't pair up full-time until after Wimbledon, but made up for lost time in earnest during the Asian Swing, reaching two finals at the Pan Pacific Open and the China Open, and winning a title at the Japan Women's Open Tennis.

"At the end of the second set, we just tried to keep..." Chan Hao-Ching, who also goes by Angel, began before her sister suggested, "calm?"

The two laughed before Angel finished: "Yes, and to keep playing the way we were for two sets!"

The Chans now tie No.2 seeds Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova for first place in the White Group; the two go head-to-head on Tuesday. Also in action will be Garcia and Srebotnik, who will be looking for their first win against No.8 seeds Carla Suárez Navarro and Garbiñe Muguruza.

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