Sania Mirza made a brilliant comeback to Wimbledon for the first time since 2017 as she won her women’s doubles match with American partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands. The duo beat sixth seeds Desirae Krawczyk and Alexa Guarachi and marched on to the second round which will take place on Thursday.
Sania and Mattek-Sands were not off to a smooth start, but as they settled down, they got back their rhythm and then dominated the match and won 7-5, 6-3.
The third game saw seven deuce points before Mattek-Sands held serve. Sania and Mattek-Sands too had two opportunities where they had the opportunity to break their rivals but this is when the American fluffed a volley before Desirae produced a quality serve.
Guarachi whacked a forehand wide at 15-30 which set up two set points in the 12th game. This is when the Indo-American combination did not squander it and Sania sealed the set with an overhead smash. In the second game, Sania and Mattek-Sands opened up a 3-1 lead and went on to clinch the set 6-3.
Sania, who has won three Grand Slam doubles titles and as many mixed doubles titles so far, last won the Wimbledon ladies’ doubles title in 2015.
The 34-year-old from Hyderabad will also become the first female athlete to represent India at four Olympics when she heads across to compete at Tokyo 2020 that is slated to start on July 23.
Sania is currently ranked 160 in doubles but is enjoying an extended period of protected ranking entry till October 2021. When she went on the maternity break, she was world No 9 and hence, will be able to qualify for Tokyo as a top-10 player gets direct acceptance into the doubles draw of 32, with a partner.