Sania Mirza makes winning return, advances to Qatar Open quarter-finals
The Indian tennis star was playing her first competitive tennis match since March last year. Her partner in the doubles tie was Andreja Klepac.
The Indo-Slovenian pairing moved into the quarter-finals on the back of a 6-4, 6(5)-7(7), 10-5 victory at the WTA 500 tournament.
This was Sania Mirza’s first match since COVID-19 disrupted the global sporting calendar.
Mirza and Klepac suffered an early blow and were trailing 4-2 in the opening set. But the Indo-Slovanian pair rallied, breaking the Ukrainian twins successively in the seventh and ninth games. Riding on their late surge, they won the first set 6-4.
Sania and Klepac took the initiative in the second set but the Ukrainian team clawed back into the contest as they won two break points of their own.
Finding themselves 3-1 down, Sania-Klepac dug deep and mounted a comeback to make it 6-6 and forced a tie-breaker for the second set.
In the tie breaker, the Kichenok twins raced off the blocks. Despite saving four set points, Sania-Klepac lost the tie break 7-5.
With the score level at one set each, the contest was to be decided with a third set (a match tie-breaker). This time, though, Sania and Klepac didn’t falter and wrapped it up by a comfortable 10-5 margin.
Sania Mirza was last in action at the Fed Cup -- now called the Billie Jean King Cup -- where she led India to their maiden playoffs a year ago.
As global lockdowns eased, Sania Mirza was considering playing at the Australian Open in February but she tested positive for the coronavirus and had to shelve the plan.