India’s Sania Mirza made a triumphant return to tennis after a maternity break, winning the Hobart International women’s doubles title with partner Nadiia Kichenok of Ukraine on Saturday.
The unseeded duo beat second seeds Peng Shuai and Zhang Shuai 6-4, 6-4 to lift the title in straight sets. This is the pair’s first title together while it is Mirza’s 42nd career title and the fifth for Kichenok.
The Indian tennis star was playing her first tournament in over two years after taking a break first due to injury and then to give birth to her son. She played in Hobart as a warm-up for the season’s first Grand Slam, the Australian Open.
Her last title came in the January of 2017, when she and Bethanie Mattek-Sands won Brisbane International.
Unseeded Mirza and Kichenok began by breaking the Chinese players in the very first game of the match but only to drop serve in the next.
The two pairs played close games towards the end and at 4-4, 40-all, but the unseeded pair got the crucial break, earning the opportunity to serve out the set. There was no twist in 10th game with Mirza and Kichenok comfortably pocketing the first set.
The second set could not have started better for them as they broke the Chinese rivals to take early lead and consolidated the break with an easy hold. The game of the Chinese was falling apart as they dropped serve again in the third but broke back immediately to repair some damage.
They were now feeling the heat at 0-30 in the sixth game but Peng and Zhang let them hold serve for a 4-2 lead. The Chinese though kept fighting and made it 4-4 with another break in the eighth game.
The Indo-Ukraine team raised its game when it mattered as it broke Peng and Zhang for one final time in the ninth and served out the match in the next game.
They split USD 13580 as prize money and eared 280 ranking points each for their winning effort.
Earlier, they had beaten Slovenian-Czech pair of Tamara Zidansek and Marie Bouzkova 7-6(3), 6-2 in the semi-finals.
With PTI Inputs