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Tennis: Mirza, Zheng warm up for US Open with New Haven victory

India's Sania Mirza, 26, and China's Zheng Jie, 30, won the New Haven Open ahead of the US Open.

India’s Sania Mirza, 26, and China’s Zheng Jie, 30, won the New Haven Open ahead of the US Open.

August 25, 2013: Sania Mirza and Zheng Jie captured the New Haven Open at Yale doubles title after the third seeds beat second-seeded Anabel Medina Garrigues and Katarina Srebotnik 6-3, 6-4 in a high-quality final.

 

It was just the fourth tournament the 26-year-old Indian and 30-year-old Chinese had played together in their careers, a partnership that started in spring and has continued again this summer after a break.

 

They’ll play together in the US Open, the final Grand Slam of the year, which starts on August 26.

 

“We started off the tournament not so well, then we kept going and getting better with every match,” Mirza said. “It was great that we played our best match in the final.”

 

Mirza and Zheng raced to a 5-2 lead in the second set after capturing the first and looked like they would close out the match with the Chinese player serving. But Medina Garrigues and Srebotnik broke and then held, putting the pressure on Mirza to serve it out.

 

That she did, the Indian earning her second title in New Haven after winning here in 2007. Mirza now owns 17 doubles crown in 25 appearances.

 

For Zheng, it’s a 15th title in 28 finals, while she also reached the singles semi-finals at Wimbledon in 2008 and the Australian Open in 2010.

 

“I think it’s a good start and gives us a lot of confidence ahead of the US Open,” Zheng said. “We are looking forward to it and hope we can keep play together as long as possible.”

 

Mirza added: “We knew we could play well together. It’s just that the last couple of weeks didn’t go as well as we wanted them to. It happens when you play 30 weeks a year. There are going to be a few weeks where you don’t play your best. Like she said, we’re good. We’re happy to take this confidence into US Open.”

 

Medina Garrigues and Srebotnik were playing for the first time this year. It was a competitive doubles draw in New Haven, with doubles legends like Liezel Huber, Lisa Raymond and Martina Hingis all in action. Tough duos included well known regulars Cara Black, Megan Moulton-Levy and Lucie Hradecka.

 

In the end it was Mirza and Zheng who took the crown, dropping just two sets along the way and splitting a winners’ cheque of US$36,500.

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