Sania Mirza made a winning return to tennis after a year, reaching the doubles quarter-finals at the Qatar Total Open with partner Andreja Klepac, in Doha on Monday

The Indo-Slovenian pair beat Nadiia Kichenok and Lyudmyla Kichenok of Ukraine 6-4, 6-7(5,) 10-5 in the opening round of the WTA 500 tournament.

It was Mirza’s first match in 12 months and it was at the Doha Open where she played last in February 2020 before the pandemic halted sport across the world. The former world No 1 herself had recovered from Covid-19 in January this year.

Incidentally, it was with Nadiia Kichenok that Mirza had paired when she returned to competitive tennis after maternity leave and won the Hobart Open in January 2020.

An early break put Mirza and Klepac down 0-3 and struggling at deuce in the fourth game but they managed to hold on, getting on board.

The Indo-Slovenian pair needed just one break to get back on serve and they got that in the seventh game, breaking the Kichenok sisters at love in the seventh. With an easy hold, they were 4-all and pocketed the set with another break.

The Ukrainians again drew the first blood in the second set for a 3-1 lead but Sania and Klepac fought hard to drag it to the tie-breaker but could not stop the rivals from pushing the contest to a Super Tie Breaker.

The Indo-Slovenia pair raced to a 5-1 lead in a jiffy and closed the match, converting the second match point.

With PTI Inputs