Sania Mirza makes perfect start to the season ahead of Australian Open

The tennis ace and partner Kichenok won the Hobart International final in straight sets.

By Rahul Venkat

Sania Mirza started her comeback run on an auspicious note as she won the women’s doubles title at the Hobart International on Saturday along with Ukranian partner Nadiia Kichenok.

The pair dispatched Chinese second seeds, Zhang Shuai and Peng Shuai, 6-4, 6-4 in the final, as the latter could not take advantage of the extra day of rest.

Both teams eased into the match early on, not taking too many risks. The first set saw them tied at 4-4 which is when Sania Mirza and Nadiia Kichenok stepped up a gear.

They started putting pressure on their opponents and they cracked, conceding their serve in the ninth game which is the one sniff that the Indo-Ukranian pair needed to go on to win the set.

Sania Mirza and Nadiia Kichenok did exactly that, holding their serve in the next game to go one set up in the final.

A thrilling second set

With the momentum on their side, Sania Mirza and Nadiia Kichenok started the second set by breaking the Chinese pair’s serve in the first game and then did it once again in the third while previously holding their own serve to quickly race to a 3-0 lead.

However, Zhang Shuai and Peng Shuai arrested their slide in the fourth game as they broke the Indo-Ukranian’s serve to gain back some ground. They also managed to hold their own in the next game to give themselves a chance in the set at 3-2.

Despite trailing by a point in the sixth game, Sania Mirza and Nadiia Kichenok held their serve and moved into a 4-2 lead but were pegged back once again when the Chinese pair won the next two games to make it 4-4.

The crowd had witnessed a match of inconsistent service games and that continued in the ninth game as Zhang Shuai and Peng Shuai conceded their serve and their final slip-up allowed their opponents to serve for the title.

Sania Mirza and Nadiia Kichenok duly did so to win their first trophy in the new year.