Sania Mirza turns 34: A look at her memorable feats
Indian tennis legend Sania Mirza turned 34 on Sunday. One of the highest-paid athletes in India, Mirza is by far the most successful female tennis player produced by India. To date, she is known for her meticulous forehands and volleying skills. She is renowned for playing as a baseliner, which allows her to hit poignant ground-strokes. Here are the notable feats of Mirza.
In the early 2000s, Mirza made waves at the junior level before bursting on to the professional circuit. At the 2005 Australian Open, Mirza became the first Indian woman to feature in the main draw of a major (singles). She won the first two rounds to set up a clash against the legendary Serena Williams. However, Mirza was beaten 1-6, 4-6 by Williams eventually.
A month later, Mirza scripted history again, having become the first Indian female tennis player to win a WTA title. She trounced Ukrainian Alona Bondarenko in a three-setter at the Hyderabad Open final. In the same season, Mirza reached the fourth round of the US Open, where she was beaten 2-6, 1-6 by former world number one Maria Sharapova.
Due to her terrific run, Mirza claimed the 2005 WTA Newcomer of the Year award. Notably, the accolade had been previously won by the likes of Serena and Venus Williams, Kim Clijsters, and Sharapova.
In 2009, Mirza partnered legend Mahesh Bhupathi to win her maiden Australian Open mixed doubles title. The duo upstaged Andy Ram and Nathalie Dechy 6-3, 6-1 to claim the historic title. Mirza also won the 2012 French Open with Bhupathi, defeating Klaudia Jans-Ignacik and Santiago Gonzalez 7-6, 6-1 Her third mixed doubles title came at the 2014 US Open, playing alongside Brazil's Bruno Soares.
In 2015, Mirza paired up with Martina Hingis to win the first Wimbledon women's doubles title. The Indo-Swiss duo beat Makarova-Vesnina 5-7, 7-6, 7-5 in a thrilling final at the Centre Court in London. With this, Mirza became the first Indian to clinch a doubles Grand Slam title. Interestingly, Mirza and Hingis cruised to the final without dropping a set.
Eventually, Mirza became the first Indian woman to hold the number one ranking (either singles or doubles). In 2016, Mirza and Hingis broke a 22-year-old record by winning their 29th women's doubles match in a row. Earlier this year, she won the WTA Hobart International after the birth of her son. The Indian sensation is certainly ready to "travel that extra mile".