A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work. And it is with these virtues, India’s tennis star Sania Mirza, who made comeback after 2+ years of hiatus owing to childbirth, storm into the final (partnering with Ukraine’s Nadia Kichenok) of Hobart International; beating Czech Marie Bouzkova and Slovenian Tamara 7-6, 6-2.
The 33-year-old Sania Mirza, who has spent 91 weeks as the top-ranked player in the WTA doubles rankings over her career, had not played on the WTA since a semifinal run at the 2017 China Open. During her time away from the tour, she gave birth to her first child, Izhaan, who has been on-site in Hobart this week. She is married to Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik.
The fifth-seeded pair knocked Bouzkova and Zidansek out after one hour and 24 minutes of play, putting Mirza into her 62nd WTA doubles final, as she seeks her 41st title. Doubles World No.34 Kichenok is into her 11th doubles final, and her first since she won her fourth WTA doubles title alongside her sister Lyudmyla at the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai at the end of the 2018 season.
Mirza and Kichenok had 15 breakpoints in the clash and converted just four of them, but they were only broken twice in the match, to garner the straight-set victory.
Sania has been elated at her winning comeback, and has been taking to social media to share photos with her son. After the first match that Mirza won after her break, she had put up a Tweet that read, “Today was one of the most special days of my life. To have my parents and my little baby boy with me in my first match after so long..and we WON our first round.”
The pair earlier got the better of the American pair of Vania King and Christina McHale 6-2, 4-6, 10-4 to enter the top four of the women’s doubles event. Before that, they defeated Oksana Kalashnikova of Georgia and Miyu Kato of Japan 2-6 7-6(3) [10-3] in the opening round of the tournament on Tuesday.
Mirza and Kichenok will face the all-Chinese team of Peng Shuai and Zhang Shuai in the final. Alison Van Uytvanck has withdrawn from their semifinal she was to play alongside Kirsten Flipkens, due to respiratory illness. As a result, Peng Shuai and Zhang Shuai advance to Saturday’s final by walkover.
Mirza last won a Grand Slam at the Wimbledon in 2015, where she partnered Martina Hingis. The first-ever Indian to achieve the doubles number one ranking since Leander Paes, Mirza will turn up for the Australian Open with Rohan Bopanna. She was initially expected to play with Rajeev Ram, however, an injury forced him out. If she and Bopanna can notch up some memorable wins, Mirza’s comeback trail will ensure that she emerges as a bigger inspiration to women around.