2022 Australian Open: Sania Mirza, Rajeev Ram reach second round
Indian tennis star Sania Mirza on Thursday progressed to the mixed doubles second round of the 2022 Australian Open. She has teamed up with American player Rajeev Ram for the mixed event. The duo recorded straight sets 6-3, 7-6(3) victory over Serbian pair Aleksandra Krunic and Nikola Cacic in the opening round. The India-American duo needed just 69 minutes to wrap up the match.
- Sania and her Ukrainian partner Nadiia Kichenok exited Australian Open on Wednesday after losing in the first round.
- The two were beaten by Kaja Juvan-Tamara Zidansek 6-4, 7-6.
- After her exit, Sania announced that she will retire from professional tennis at the end of the 2022 season, making her mixed doubles event all more important as this is her last battle in AO.
Rajeev anchored the match while Sania hammered some strong serves to finish the first set in 25 minutes. The Serbians bounced back in the second set and took it to the tiebreaker. At 5-5, Sania served out the game. Thereafter, the Serbians lost two first-serve points, handing their rivals three points. Finally, an error by Cacic in return serves sealed the game for Sania-Rajeev.
Both pairs smashed six aces in the match. Sania-Rajeev did not commit a single double fault while their rivals made the error twice. The Indian-American duo recorded 79% victory on first serves and 90% on returning serves. Krunic and Cacic managed 69% victory on first serves and 53% on second serves. The only tiebreaker of the contest was won by Sania and Rajeev.
Sania and Kichenok bowed out from the first round of women's double after losing in straight sets. The Indian-Ukrainian fought well but lost the match as they failed in converting points at crucial junctures. They won 45 services points, just seven less than their rivals (52). They won 27 points on returning serves while Juvan and Zidansek bagged 30 points.
Following her loss, Sania announced her retirement decision, saying that her "body is wearing down" and she is "getting older," "There are a bunch of reasons for it," she added. "I do feel my recovery is taking longer. Considering my son is three years old, I'm putting him at risk by travelling so much, that's something I have to take into account," Mirza said.
Sania has won six Grand Slam titles in her career. She has won three major titles in women's doubles - US Open (2015), Wimbledon (2015), and Australian Open (2016). Sania's three Slams in mixed doubles came in US Open (2014), Roland Garros (2012), and Australian Open (2009). She reached a career-high number one ranking in doubles in 2015. She is ranked 63 in doubles.