Brisbane, Jan 9 (IANS) The world’s top women tennis pair of Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis started the New Year on a brilliant note by clinching the title of the $1 million Brisbane International at the Queensland Tennis Centre here on Saturday.
The top seeded pair took just an hour and 10 minutes to beat German wild card pair of Angelique Kerber, who lost the women’s singles final earlier in the day to Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, and Andrea Petkovic 7-5, 6-1 at the Pat Rafter Arena.
“Every match at the beginning of the season is a good match, just trying to get that confidence going. It’s great we already have this Brisbane title in our pockets and we’re really looking forward to Sydney,” Martina said.
“We’ll get a couple days off before we play and then we will start again. I always have such great support in Australia so I really look forward to the next tournaments.”
This is the Indo-Swiss pair’s 26th win in a row, first title of 2016 and 10th overall. They have now won six titles on the trot — the longest winning streak in the category since 1994 when Gigi Fernandez and Natasha Zvereva were on a 28 match-winning streak.
Also, this is the 29-year-old Sania’s second victory here after partnering American Bethanie Mattek-Sands all the way to the title in 2013 while Martina was the defending champion, having sealed the crown with German Sabine Lisicki last year.
“They’re obviously very good players, so we knew we had to come out and play our best. We let the lead go a little bit after 2-0, and were both trying to find our form again. It was big we broke on the deuce point at 6-5, and after that the tide really changed in our favour,” Sania said.
The world’s top ranked combine took off well by breaking their opponents in the second game to go 2-0 up. But the wild card pair fought well and broke Sania and Martina twice to take a 4-2 lead.
The first set turned out to be quite topsy-turvy with both pairs regularly failing to hold on to their service games. However, Sania and Martina first levelled the score at 4-all and then won on their serve to take a 5-4 lead one more time in the set.
Serving at 5-6 down and trying to push the set into the tie-breaker, Angelique and Andrea failed to do so with the top seeds taking the set in 46 minutes.
Unlike the vigorously fought first set, the second one turned out to be more or less a walkover with Sania and Martina racing away to a 5-0 lead. The German girls somehow managed to win the sixth game on their serve but it was a little too late as the Indo-Swiss pair clinched the crown with ease in the next few minutes.
Though she came out at the losing end, Angelique still made history by becoming the first player in the tournament’s history to reach both the singles and doubles finals.
“It wasn’t my night tonight. I lost two finals. But it was still a great week and congratulations to Sania and Martina – you are the best, good luck in Melbourne,” said the German.
Sania and Martina next play this coming week at the Sydney International as top seeds.