Sania Mirza and Zhang Shuai win Ostrava Open doubles title

Indian tennis superstar Sania Mirza returned to the winner’s circle on Sunday with the doubles title at the Ostrava Open.

The second-seeded Indo-Chinese pair of Mirza and Zhang Shuai needed 64 minutes to blow away the third-seeded American-Kiwi combine of Kaitlyn Christian and Erin Routliffe 6-3, 6-2 in the final.

This was Mirza’s first title of the season and the 43rd overall of her storied career. The Ostrava triumph also happens to be the six-time Grand Slam champion’s first win at the WTA 500 level since the new structure of tournaments was introduced last December.

The win in the Czech Republic marks Mirza’s second title since giving birth to her son Izhaan Mirza Malik in October 2018.

Post her maternity leave, Sania Mirza joined the WTA Tour back in January 2020 and made a triumphant comeback in her very first tournament. Partnering Nadiia Kichenok of Ukraine, the Indian went on to win the WTA 250 tournament in Hobart.

However, she could not replicate the success in her next three events at the Australian Open, Dubai and Doha before the tour came to a standstill because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Sania Mirza made the final in Cleveland last month

Sania Mirza returned to action this year at the Qatar Open, where she reached the semifinals alongside Andrea Klepac of Slovenia. But she went on a poor run of results in her next five tournaments, losing before the quarter-finals.

It was finally in Cleveland last month, where things fell into place for the Indian once again. In partnership with Christina McHale of the USA, Mirza made her first final on the WTA Tour in 19 months.

The duo, however, went down to Japanese top seeds Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara 5-7, 3-6.

Mirza teamed up with Zhang Shuai at the Luxembourg Open last week and made the quarterfinals there before lifting the trophy at Ostrava this week.

(L-R): Zhang Shuai & Sania Mirza celebrate their win at the J&T Banka Ostrava Open 2021
(L-R): Zhang Shuai & Sania Mirza celebrate their win at the J&T Banka Ostrava Open 2021

Their path to the title, however, wasn’t easy. The second seeds needed a match tie-break to battle past Tara Moore-Emina Bektas and Lidziya Marozava-Anna Danilina in their first couple of rounds.

In the semifinals, Mirza and Shuai rebounded from a break down in the second set to beat fourth seeds Eri Hozumi and Makoto Ninomiya 6-2, 7-5.

The Indo-Chinese duo were sharp in every aspect of their performance in the final. They won 76.5% of their first serve points and saved both the break points they faced while making in-roads into their opponents’ serve thrice.

Mirza, who is currently ranked 110th, is expected to rise to No. 62 following the win.

Sania Mirza 🇮🇳 and Shuai Zhang 🇨🇳 have beaten Kaitlyn Christian 🇺🇸 and Erin Routliffe 🇳🇿 (6-3, 6-2) at the Ostrava open finals and are the Women’s Doubles Champions 🙌

#tennis #india #teamindia

Edited by Arjun Panchadar

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