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Tennis: Mirza to defend WTA Finals double title with Hingis

Sania Mirza will defend her WTA Finals doubles title with Martina Hingis. Photo: AFP.

Sania Mirza will defend her WTA Finals doubles title with Martina Hingis. Photo: AFP.

July 14, 2015: The doubles pairing of Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza have qualified for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, the WTA announced. The pair follow Serena Williams, who already qualified to defend her title in the singles competition before winning Wimbledon.

 

Follow the link to watch Martina and Sania’s Road to Singapore: http://www.wtafinals.com/article/hingis–mirza-qualify-for-singapore/4862820

 

Hingis, 34, and Mirza, 28, secured their qualification by winning the Wimbledon doubles title, which marked Mirza’s first Grand Slam women’s doubles title and Hingis’ first Wimbledon title in 17 years.

 

Although qualifying as a team for the first time, both players have enjoyed success at the WTA Finals. Mirza will return to Singapore as defending champion, having won the doubles title with Cara Black in 2014.

 

“For me as an Asian player it’s really exciting to be playing in Singapore. The crowd that supports us is incredible and there’s a great atmosphere at the event,” Mirza said.

 

“Qualifying for the WTA Finals after winning Wimbledon couldn’t be any more perfect. Martina and I have had some incredible results this season and I’ll do whatever I can to defend my title.”

 

Hingis has also enjoyed success at the WTA Finals, winning the singles twice (1998, 2000) and back-to-back doubles titles with Anna Kournikova in 1999 and 2000. Hingis has participated in the WTA Finals six times, competing in both singles and doubles from 1996-2000, while also qualifying in singles in 2006.

 

The Swiss also partnered Helena Sukova (1996), Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario (1997) and Jana Novotna (1998), and Mirza will be Hingis’s fifth different partner at the WTA Finals.

 

Hingis said: “Qualifying for the WTA Finals again is a dream come true. When I stopped playing in 2007, I never dreamed of coming back, but returning and now playing for the year-end doubles title is way above my expectations.

 

“Since I started playing with Sania it’s been a joy – we always keep fighting and we motivate each other. And now after winning our first Grand Slam on grass, we’re just both so happy.”

 

The Hingis-Mirza partnership began in March and achieved instant success, winning 14 straight matches en route to three successive titles – the BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells), Miami Open presented by Itau, and Family Circle Cup (Charleston).

 

These results, in addition to the Wimbledon crown, propelled Mirza to the top of the WTA doubles rankings – the first Indian woman to reach No.1 – while Hingis has reached a high of No. 2 following her comeback. Between them, they have 72 career doubles titles – Hingis with 45 and Mirza with 27.

Stacey Allaster, WTA Chairman and CEO, said: “It is truly a remarkable accomplishment for Sania and Martina to have earned qualification for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global so soon after beginning their partnership.

 

“I know the fans in Singapore will be very excited to see Sania return as defending champion and welcome Martina back to the WTA Finals for the first time in nine years. With the Road to Singapore Leaderboard now taking shape, it will be an exciting next few months ahead.”

 

Among her notable achievements, Mirza was the first Indian woman to reach the world No. 1 doubles ranking; the first to win a WTA singles title; the first to reach the third and fourth rounds of a Grand Slam; the first to surpass US$1 million in career prize money; and the first to win a Grand Slam title of any kind when she claimed the 2009 Australian Open mixed doubles title with countryman Mahesh Bhupathi.

 

She has since added two more mixed doubles titles – 2012 Roland Garros with Bhupathi and last year’s US Open with Bruno Soares – in addition to this year’s Wimbledon doubles title.

 

Hingis has also enjoyed a glittering career, winning five Grand Slam singles titles among her 43 career singles titles; 10 Grand Slam doubles titles among her 45 doubles titles; and three Grand Slam mixed doubles titles, most recently at Wimbledon with Leander Paes.

 

She is one of only six women to have been ranked World No. 1 simultaneously in both singles and doubles and achieved a calendar doubles Grand Slam in 1998. The Swiss is also the youngest Grand Slam singles champion of the Open Era (capturing the 1997 Australian Open at 16 years, four months) and is the youngest singles world No.1 of the 20th century, at 16 years, six months.

 

Road to Singapore Leaderboards (as of Monday, July 13):

 

Rank Singles Player
1 Serena Williams (USA)
2 Maria Sharapova (RUS)
3 Simona Halep (ROU)
4 Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP)
5 Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP)
6 Lucie Safarova (CZE)
7 Karolina Pliskova (CZE)
8 Petra Kvitova (CZE)
9 Timea Bacsinszky (SUI)
10 Angelique Kerber (GER)
Rank Doubles Team
1 Martina Hingis/Sania Mirza (SUI/IND)
2 Bethanie Mattek-Sands/ Lucie Safarova (USA/CZE)
3 Ekaterina Makarova/Elena Vesnina (RUS/RUS)
4 Kristina Mladenovic/Timea Babos (FRA/HUN)
5 Casey Dellacqua/Yaroslava Shvedova (AUS/KAZ)
6 Caroline Garcia/Katerina Srebotnik (FRA/SLO)
7 Raquel Kops-Jones/Abigail Spears (USA/USA)
8 Andrea Hlavackova/Lucie Hradecka (CZE/CZE)
9 Garbiñe Muguruza/Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP/ESP)
10 Zheng Jie/Chan Yung-Jan (CHN/TPE)

 

The leaderboard is updated each Monday (every two weeks during Grand Slam events) and can be found at www.wtafinals.com.

 

For tickets, visit: Sports Hub Tix (www.sportshub.com.sg/WTAFinals)

 

Source: WTA Finals (www.wtafinals.com); Editing by SportAsia

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