Sania Mirza falters in opening hurdle at Chicago Fall Tennis Classic

The Indian tennis player and her Chinese partner Zhang Shuai went down to American duo CoCo Vandeweghe and Caroline Dolehide in the first round of women’s doubles.

By Utathya Nag
Picture by Getty Images

Days after winning the Ostrava Open, Indian tennis star Sania Mirza and her Chinese women’s doubles partner Zhang Shuai suffered a shock opening round exit from the Chicago Fall Tennis Classic 2021 in the USA on Wednesday.

Sania Mirza-Zhang Shuai lost their opening match against the all-American duo of CoCo Vandeweghe and Caroline Dolehide 1-6, 7-5, 6-10 at the XS Tennis and Education Foundation. The match lasted one hour and 10 minutes.

CoCo Vandeweghe, incidentally, was Sania Mirza’s partner at this year’s US Open. The duo was knocked out in the opening round.

Up against the local favourites, the Indo-Chinese pair were caught on their heels in the opening exchanges as Vandeweghe, a 2018 US Open women’s doubles champion, dictated the pace of the match with support from her junior partner Dolehide.

With two back-to-back break points in the fourth and sixth games, the Americans ran away with the first set 6-1.

Looking to bounce back in the second set, Sania Mirza and Zhang Shuai broke Vandeweghe and Dolehide in the second game but conceded their lead immediately. The home team scored another break point in the seventh game to take control of the set.

Down 5-4 with the US team serving, Sania Mirza-Zhang Shuai needed a clutch performance to stay in the game and they produced just that with back-to-back breaks to edge the second set 7-5.

With the score at 1-1, the match went to the tie-break. However, this time Vandeweghe-Dolehide didn’t drop the ball and comfortably won the decider 10-6.

It was a disappointing result for the pair of Sania Mirza and Zhang Shuai, who recently won their first WTA title as a team at the Ostrava meet in the Czech Republic.