Partnering Nadiia Kichenok of Ukraine, Indian tennis star Sania Mirza reached the women’s doubles final of the Hobart International on Friday to continue her winning run on her comeback to the sport from maternity leave.
Mirza and Kichenok defeated the Slovenian-Czech pair of Tamara Zidansek and Marie Bouzkova 7-6(3), 6-2 in the semi-finals to book their place in the title clash. The duo were prolific in creating break point opportunities in the match, converting four out of the 15 that came their way.
The first set was a tough contest between the two pairs, bringing the tie-breaker into the equation after it was level at 6-6.
In the tie-breaker, Mirza and Kichenok upped their game by a few notches to outsmart their opponents and take the lead.
The second set was a no contest as Mirza and Kichenok broke their opponents thrice – in the second, sixth and eighth game – to easily pocket the set and a place in the summit clash.
The Indo-Ukranian pair will face second seeds Peng Shuai and Zhang Shuai in the final on Saturday. The Chinese pair got a walkover after Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens and Alison Van Uytvanck conceded the other semifinal match because of injury.
Earlier, they had defeated the American duo of Vania King and Christina McHale 6-2, 4-6, 10-4, in the quarterfinals.
Mirza, who last played at the China Open in October 2017, is a former doubles world No 1 and is set to partner Rohan Bopanna in the mixed doubles at the Australian Open starting next week.
Mirza-Kichenok registered a 2-6, 7-6 (7/3), 10-3 victory over Georgia’s Oksana Kalashnikova and Japan’s Miyu Kato in the opening round.
“Today was one of the most special days of my life to have my parents and my little baby boy with me in my first match after so long... and we WON our first round,” Mirza tweeted after her win. “Feel very grateful for the love I am receiving.. BELIEF!! Takes you places YES my baby boy, we did it.”
Mirza, regarded as her country’s greatest women’s tennis player, became the first Indian to win a WTA singles title in 2005.
She reached the fourth round of the US Open in the same year, and by 2007 was among the women’s top 30.
But a wrist injury caused her to concentrate on doubles, forging a partnership with Swiss great Martina Hingis which produced three Grand Slam titles.