Mirza’s Strong Showing at Wells

sania1.jpgSania Mirza is going from strength to strength!

Her fourth round showing at the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, the previous week, has exceeded expectations of her strongest critics and pleased her loyal admirers. The incising on the cake was her semifinal showing in the women’s doubles event.

It must be noted that this was a Tier I event, thus slotted just under the Grand Slams. Her string of good performances started at Hobart this year and has extended till the previous week. In these three months, she has given Venus Williams and Jelena Jankovic, both perennial top 10 players, a run for their money as they both barely squeezed through their matches with her.

Her showing last week helped her gain a spot at the WTA Singles Ranking; her rank going up to number 31 while her Doubles Ranking shot up to number 22. In both the competitions, she managed to beat highly rated opponents.

In her Singles campaign, she beat a high rated Shahar Peer before falling to the defending champion Daniela Hnatuchova, though not before giving a good fight in the second set. This week should give Sania tremendous confidence considering that it is the third time that she has had a top 10 player on the ropes.

What matters at this junction is the execution. After the appointment of an excellent tennis coach Sven Groeneveld, who will coach her part time at the Grand Slams and other Tier I events, things should look good for her. Incidentally, Sven Groeneveld is also the coach of Anna Ivanovic, the world’s number two.

In her Doubles campaign, Sania was equally sensational. Reaching the semifinal after being seeded seventh in the tournament is no small feat. On the way to the semifinal, she, along with partner Bethanie Mattek, defeated the number 3 pair of Chan Yung-Jan and Chuang Chia-Jung, only to loose to the tournament top seeds Yan Zi and Zheng Jie in a tight three set contest.

The only reason to worry in the past one week was her wrist injury which seems to have aggravated. Her extreme western grip at this stage would be difficult to change, considering her forehand is her bedrock and foundation of her game. Surgery and grip change are possible solutions but it would be wise for Mirza to assess some other options before going for some drastic measures.

Then again, whatever happens with Mirza has to have a dash of drama…

Sayan Das


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