Sania Mirza, Zhang Shuai lose in opener at Indian Wells

The Indian tennis player and her Chinese partner lost to Japan’s Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara in the first round of women’s doubles.

By Aarish Ansari
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

India’s Sania Mirza and her Chinese partner Zhang Shuai crashed out of the Indian Wells Open 2021 tennis tournament in the USA on Thursday after losing their first round match in women’s doubles.

Sania Mirza, a six-time Grand Slam champion, and the 2021 US Open doubles champion Zhang Shuai lost 6-4, 3-6, 13-15 to the third seeded pair of Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara from Japan. The match lasted one hour and 37 minutes.

Playing at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, Sania and Zhang started strong and broke the Japanese opponents in the fifth game of the opening set, which was enough to win them the first set.

However, Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara, the semi-finalists from this year’s Wimbledon, rallied back in the second set to break Sania-Zhang in the fourth game.

The slip up cost the Indo-Chinese pair as the Japanese duo levelled up the score 1-1 and forced a super-tiebreak.

The decider was nothing short of a roller coaster ride.

Sania Mirza and Zhang Shuai saved two match points but also lost three opportunities to win the contest. The pair, however, could not save their third match point and lost the super-tiebreak 13-15 to bow out of the ATP Masters 1000 event.

Two weeks ago, Sania Mirza and Zhang Shuai had lifted their first title together at the Ostrava Open before suffering a shock opening round exit at the Chicago Fall Tennis Classic 2021.