Sania seals historic world no. 1 rank with Charleston title

Sania Mirza on Sunday created history by becoming the first female tennis player from India to achieve the world number one rank in doubles, following her stupendous title win at the WTA Family Circle Cup with partner Martina Hingis, in Charleston.

The top-seeded Indo-Swiss pair blew away the challenge of Casey Dellacqua and Darija Jurak 6-0 6-4 in just 57 minutes in the lop-sided final of the $731,000 clay court event.

Sania took 470 points from the win to take her tally to 7965 as she jumped past Italy’s Sara Errani (7640) and Roberta Vinci (7640) to sit atop the ranking table. The official ranking chart will be issued tomorrow.

Before Sania, only Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi had achieved the top rank when they dominated men’s doubles circuit in the last 90s. Sania is also first female player from the country to win Grand Slam tournaments.

It is Sania’s third successive title win with Hingis and they have not lost as a single match since joining forces in March. They won trophy in Indian Wells, which was their first tournament together and followed up that with win in Miami. Sania and Hingis have lost only three sets in 14 matches, spread over three tournaments.

They have already become the world number one team in the Race to Singapore, the season-finale, where top-8 team compete at the end of year. Sania and Hingis strolled past their rivals as they beat them in just 22 minute to take the opening set. They lost serve in the first game of the second set but broke back immediately.

If the unseeded Australian-Croatian pair had any chance to make a comeback, it was by cashing in on chances and they did not help their cause by squandering two break opportunities in the fifth game of the second set as the winners opened up a huge 4-1 lead. Casey and Darija though kept fighting and gradually reduced the margin.

Serving for the match, Sania and Hingis were broken, perhaps the enormity of the achievement made the Indian nervous. They kept their nerves and broke their opponents for one final time in the 10th game to close the match in their favour. “It’s a dream for every kid to be No.1 one day,” Sania said after her win.

The 28-year-old Hyderabadi gave credit to her partner Martina Hingis for success this week. “I can’t think of a better person to do it with. When we came here we had one thing in mind, to get No.1, and she really helped me get there. She helped me through some tough moments this week. She’s just a great person and a great player. We also become the No.1 team in the world today with this,” she said.

“I hope we have many, many more tournaments and end the year on a high as well.” In a jovial mood, Sania kept praising Hingis, a former World No.1 herself, and said to her,”I don’t want to make you feel old, but I did watch you as a kid!.”

“You were an idol to most young girls at the time. You made it when you were 15!” And on reaching No.1 in Charleston? “No tournament has been as special to me as the Family Circle Cup and no tournament will ever be as special to me, because I became No.1 here.”

Source: PTI

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