Sunday, May 22, 2016

Roland Garros ladies doubles draw: Santina

Santina vs. History: Co-No.1s Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza lead the field in the Roland Garros women's doubles draw, which was released on Sunday. The reigning Wimbledon, US Open, and Australian Open champions arrive in Paris hoping to become the first team to clinch a Non-Calendar Year Grand Slam since the Williams Sisters at this very tournament in 2010. Riding a 41-match winning streak through the Qatar Total Open, Hingis and Mirza suffered a minor slump at Indian Wells and Miami, and broke their three-month title drought at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia. Defeating Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina in a match tie-break, the pair captured their first trophy on red clay, after finishing second to French Connection Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix and the Mutua Madrid Open.

Santina wouldn't have to play the French stars - or the recently reunited Williamses - until the final, with No.3 seeds Chan Hao-Ching and Chan Yung-Jan, No.6 seeds and Australian Open finalists Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka, and No.7 seeds Makarova and Vesnina falling into their half of the draw. Opening against Daria Kasatkina - one half of the team that ended their winning streak in Doha - and Alexandra Panova, Hingis and Mirza will likely be relieved by their draw, one that gives them time to play into form in time for a projected Melbourne rematch against Hlavackova and Hradecka in the last eight.

The Swiss Miss already won a Calendar Year Grand Slam in doubles, back in 1998 with Mirjana Lucic-Baroni and Jana Novotna; if she and Mirza can maintain the kind of consistency that took them through the clay court season, the team to beat will be heavy favorites to cement their legendary status in Paris.

Not an easy draw, but not the toughest. I highly doubt the Williams sisters are gonna make it to the finals, but the rest of the field could be tricky.

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