Sania wins Sydney International, Bopanna in final (Roundup)

Sydney, Jan 15 (IANS) At one stage almost set to lose the final, Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis came up with a stupendous performance to earn a fantastic come-from-behind victory and clinch the Sydney International women’s doubles title at the Ken Rosewall Arena here on Friday.

Indo-Romanian pair of Rohan Bopanna and Florin Mergea also earned a contrasting win to enter the men’s doubles final on the hard courts of the NSW Tennis Centre.

Seeded No.1, Sania and Martina were down and almost out when they were trailing 1-6, 2-5 against French third seeds Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic. But the Indo-Swiss combine staged a remarkable comeback to eventually win the second set 7-5 and the super tie-break 10-5 in an hour and 14 minutes.

This is the Indo-Swiss pair’s 30th win in a row, second title of 2016 and 11th overall. They have now won seven titles on the trot with the Brisbane International crown coming last week and five of them in 2015. The Indo-Swiss partnership is also an impeccable 11-1 in finals.

The 29-year-old Sania was the defending champion here but last year she won the title with American Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

“At 6-1, 5-2 the only thing we could say to each other was that it was only one break. That’s the only positive you can find from a situation like that,” Sania said.

“We tried to hold our serve for 5-3 to give ourselves another chance, then we had a huge game at 5-3 and the momentum went in our favour. We’re really happy to win another tournament. We’re really happy with the way we fought.”

The first set turned out to be disastrous for the Indo-Swiss pair, who were not only broken thrice but also served four double faults at crucial junctures to literally give away the set.

They were down a break at 2-5 in the second set when Sania and Martina somehow found their legs to turn it around. The top seeds won the next five games, breaking their opponents twice in as many chances available, to remarkably seal the set and push the match into the decider.

The super tie-break was anybody’s game but the Sania-Martina duo had the experience and the nerves to seal it 10-5 and clinch yet another title and prepare themselves in the best possible way for the first Major of the year — the Australian Open, which starts on Monday.

“It was definitely a great test, and against a great new team. They were playing together for the first time this week, and we’re going to see a lot more of them,” said Martina.

“We had to take our chances. You don’t see much light in a dark tunnel, but then we had one or two opportunities here and there, and with one little chance we were able to turn the match around.”

Earlier in the day, fourth seeds Bopanna and Mergea took an hour and 23 minutes to beat unseeded Brazilian-Argentine pairing of Thomaz Bellucci and Leonardo Mayer 7-6(8), 6-4 on Court 9 to enter the summit clash where they will take on the British-Brazilian combination of Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares on Saturday.

Though both pairs got quite a few breakpoint chances in the first set, no one was able to convert them, which meant the set went to the tie-break. The tie-breaker was tightly contested and eventually the fourth seeds prevailed 10-8.

Bellucci and Mayer got three more breakpoint chances in the second set, which they failed to convert again. In the end it was Bopanna and Mergea who broke their opponents just one time which was enough to seal the set and match in their favour.

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