Star To Watch : Sania Mirza

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All eyes will be on Indian tennis star Sania Mirza when she plays in the final of women’s singles against Australian opponent at R.K. Khanna Tennis Complex on Saturday, October 9. The 24-year-old from Hyderabad staged a grand recovery after losing the first set to get the better of Australia’s Olivia Rogowska 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the first of the semi-finals.
“That was a fantastic win. My heart is beating really fast. It hasn’t sunk in,” said a delighted Sania Mirza. “I’m happy with the way I fought because in the match I didn’t play that well. I knew I just needed to fight and come up with something different. I just had to hang in there. Sania Mirza’s husband, former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik, will also cheer for her in the final.
Born on November 15, 1986 to Imran Mirza, a sports journalist, and Nasima Begum in Mumbai, Sania Mirza was brought up in Hyderabad and began playing tennis at the age of six, turning professional in 2003. She was trained by her father and other family members.
In April 2003, Sania Mirza made her debut in the India Fed Cup team, winning all three singles matches. She also won the 2003 Wimbledon Championships Girls’ Doubles title, teaming up with Alisa Kleybanova of Russia.
Sania Mirza is the highest ranked female tennis player ever from India, with a career high ranking of 27 in singles and 18 in doubles. She is the first Indian woman to be seeded in a Grand Slam tennis tournament. She was the first Indian woman to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament at the 2005 U.S. Open, defeating Mashona Washington, Maria Elena Camerin and Marion Bartoli. In winning the mixed doubles event at the 2009 Australian Open, with Mahesh Bhupathi, she became the first Indian woman to win a Grand Slam title.
In 2005, Mirza reached the third round of the Australian Open, losing to eventual champion Serena Williams. On February 12, 2005, she became the first Indian woman to win a WTA singles title, defeating Alyona Bondarenko of Ukraine in the Hyderabad Open Finals. At the 2006 Doha Asian Games, Sania Mirza won the silver in the women’s singles category and the gold in the mixed doubles partnering Leander Paes. She was also part of the Indian women’s team that won the silver in the team event. Sania Mirza was awarded a Padma Shri in 2006, India’s fourth highest honor for her achievements as a tennis player.
ROAD TO FINAL:
First Round: Bye
Second Round: Beat Brittany Teei (Cook Islands) 6-0,6-2
Quarter Final: Beat Marina Erakovic (New Zealand) 6-2,6-3
Semi Final: Beat Olivia Rogowska (Australia) 1-6, 6-4, 6-4