Saturday, January 30, 2016

Martina Hingis, Sania Mirza a study in harmony

India and Switzerland may seem like worlds apart, but as the home countries of Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza, the pairing proves to be nothing less than a beautiful harmony.

Going into today’s Australian Open women’s doubles final against Czech pair Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka, the women have won their past 35 matches, just nine matches away from equalling the all-time record of 44 set by Jana Novotna and Helena Sukova in 1990.

Recognised as the WTA’s ‘Doubles Team of the Year’ last December, the pair began their career together flawlessly, winning the first three tournaments they played early in 2015.

Since an upset loss to Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova in the French Open quarterfinals, the duo has been unstoppable, winning 42 of the next 45 matches to take home titles at Wimbledon, the US Open, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Beijing, the WTA Finals in Singapore, Brisbane and Sydney.

Dubbed ‘Santina’, by the press, the No.1 seeds have been relentless in their final run into Rod Laver Arena, demolishing reputable semifinalists Julia Goerges and Karolina Pliskova 6-1 6-0 in under an hour.

At 35, Hingis is enjoying a remarkable resurgence in her professional tennis career. Temporarily retiring at 22, Hingis already held five Grand Slam singles titles with a swag of ‘youngest ever’ records to complement her trophies.

With a deft touch at the net, Hingis is recognised as one of the greatest volleyers in the history of women’s tennis, an attribute that is greatly valued in the fast-paced nature of the doubles game.

While Mirza’s singles career is worthy of note, reaching a career-high ranking of No. 27 in 2007, she has found her true calling in doubles.

Partnering with Cara Black in 2014 with moderate success, Mirza was searching for a capable net player to complement her strong forehand baseline game. She well and truly found it in Hingis.

The duo strikes the perfect balance between strength and accuracy to combine as a powerhouse of the women’s doubles competition; so much so, it makes you wonder why it took so long for them to find each other in the first place.

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