Dream comeback for Sania Mirza, lifts Hobart International title
Sania Mirza capped off a perfect return to tennis after her maternity leave. The Indian women's doubles tennis ace lifted the Hobart International doubles title alongside her partner Nadiia Kichenok. The two beat second seeds Shaui Peng and Shuai Zhang in the finale on Saturday. The Indo-Ukrainian pair won the match 6-4, 6-4 in straight sets. Here's more.
Playing her maiden tournament after giving birth to her son Izhaan, the 33-year-old tennis star could not have asked for a better return to the game. Sania has begun well keeping the Tokyo Olympics 2020 in mind. She also warmed up for the upcoming Australian Open in style. It is Sania's 42nd WTA doubles title and a first since Brisbane International Trophy in 2017.
Sania and Kichenok defeated the Slovenian-Czech pair of Tamara Zidansek and Marie Bouzkova 7-6(3), 6-2 in straight sets in the semi-final. Prior to that, they overcame American duo of Vania King and Christina McHale in 6-2, 4-6, 10-4 affair in the quarters. In the opening round, the two enjoyed a a 2-6, 7-6 (7/3), 10-3 victory over Georgia's Oksana Kalashnikova and Japan's Miyu Kato.
After the victory, Sania said she could not have asked for a better comeback. "I couldn't have asked for a better comeback. Hobart is special to me in many ways," she said. Sania said she didn't expect anything from the tournament and there was no pressure. The 33-year-old wanted to get some matches in before next week's Australian Open. She also thanked Kichenov.
Rising Kazakh talent Elena Rybakina beat China's Zhang Shuai 7-6(7), 6-3 in the Hobart International final on Saturday and claim her second WTA title. The victory means that Rybakina will zoom into the top 30 in the world for the first time next week. She faces American Bernarda Pera in the opening round of the Australian Open 2020.