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Sania Mirza makes a winning return at her first Wimbledon as a mother

Pairing with America's Bethanie Mattek Sands, super-mom and 6-time Grand Slam champion Sania Mirza scripted a winning comeback at her first Wimbledon as a mother.

Sania Mirza makes a winning return at her first Wimbledon as a mother

Sohinee Basu

Updated: 15 July 2021 10:04 AM GMT

Back on the Wimbledon greens after a 3-year-long hiatus, India's most successful female tennis player, Sania Mirza made a winning return on the Grand Slam circuit. Partnering with America's Bethanie Mattek-Sands once again, Sania Mirza played her first Wimbledon match today as a mother and what better way to start it off than with a resounding win?

Both former World No. 1's in women's doubles, 6-time Grand Slam champion Sania Mirza and 9-time Grand Slam winner, Bethanie Mattek-Sands proved to be too powerful for the sixth-seeded duo of Desirae Krawczyk-Alexa Guarachi. The Indo-American pair, cashed in on their experience and steamrolled past the Chile-American pair, to win 7-5, 6-3, quite emphatically.

Sania Mirza, who was absent from regular tennis action ever since she took maternity leave in 2018 to give birth to her son, Izhaan with her Pakistani cricketer husband, Shoaib Malik, is now making a comeback on the circuit. Slated to play in the Tokyo Olympics - a record fourth straight Olympic appearance for her - Sania Mirza will partner with India's No. 1 singles and doubles player, Ankita Raina in Japan later this month.

Present on the Wimbledon courts once again, the mother of Izhaan looked like a fine force - serving and moving well, and will hope to continue the winning run with long-time friend and partner Bethanie Mattek Sands. In the mixed doubles as well, Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna are set to reunite and play and it remains to be seen if the 2016 Rio Olympics semi-finalist pair can conjure up their usual magic at Wimbledon tomorrow.

Sania Mirza's evergreen run on the grass courts of Wimbledon

Former World No.1 pair of Martin Hingis and Sania Mirza won the 2015 Wimbledon Women's Doubles trophy

The 34-year-old Sania Mirza shares a very special relationship with the courts of the All England Club. It was here on the lush green lawns of Wimbledon that a 17-year-old Sania paired up with Russia's Alisa Kleybanova in 2003.

Having turned professional that very year, Sania Mirza arrested the attention of the entire nation as she raced ahead to win the Wimbledon Championships Girls' Doubles title and kickstarted what was to become an extremely illustrious career.

The Indo-Russian pair played inspired tennis and defeated their Dutch opponents, Katerina Bohmova - Michaella Krajicek after a gripping fight where the Mirza-Kleybanova duo came out on top, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 to win the Girls' Doubles title in 2003. With that win, Sania Mirza created history instantly for India as she became the first female player from the country to win a Grand Slam title, turning her overnight into a tennis sensation.

"This is where it all started for me in 2003. That was the beginning of the big things for me. Any tennis player wants to play at the centre court, but very few get to win there. This is the biggest stage of tennis. It's a dream come true for me." - Sania Mirza said in an interview with the Olympic website.

Having switched from singles to doubles fully after suffering a wrist injury, Sania Mirza's expertise flourished on the doubles front. In 2015, Mirza paired up with Swiss legend and former World No.1 Martina Hingis and the duo worked like magic on the tour.

Hingis, who has a whopping 18 Grand Slams to her name - 5 singles and 13 doubles, allied with Sania and together they lifted 3 titles, as well.

For Sania, Wimbledon has acted as a talisman for all things good and has marked as the inception point as it was here in 2015 that the top-seeded Indo-Swiss pair-up cruised onto win the Wimbledon Women's Doubles trophy, most ceremoniously. Rallying hard to get past their Russian opponent duo of Ekaterina Makarova-Elena Vesnina, Mirza-Hingis prevailed, 5-7, 7-6(4), 7-5.

Primarily a doubles specialist, Sania Mirza has tasted most of her success at Wimbledon playing in the doubles events rather than in her singles ventures. In the women's doubles, apart from the title win in 2015, Mirza had reached the semi-finals in 2011 and made it to the quarters in 2008 and 2016.

In the mixed doubles, Sania Mirza partnered with Indian ace Rohan Bopanna to reach her first quarters in 2011. However, Mirza has never been able to progress beyond the quarters and despite reaching the last 8 stage twice more, in 2013 and 2015.

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