Monday, August 27, 2007

Watch out for Sania Mirza at US Open

That's tennis writer Peter Bodo's prediction on ESPN - Sania Mirza is on his list of players likely to make a splash at the 2007 US Open.

With action starting today at Flushing Meadows, Bodo points out that "Mirza has shown signs of maturity that her game has sorely lacked, and she likes this surface."

The number 26 seed also carries the heavy burden of being India's only representative in the singles events.


She's in great form though and currently enjoys her highest ever career ranking - 27 (in singles) and 20 (in doubles).

Mirza begins her US Open campaign on Tuesday with a 4-2 win-loss record at the Grand Slam, already looking ahead to a possible third round clash with the in-form Russian Anna Chakvetadze.

Will Mirza repeat her dream run of 2005, when she lost in the fourth round to top seed Maria Sharapova?

Well, her doubles victory at the Pilot Pen tournament over the weekend should keep her spirits up. After all, Mirza and Italy's Mara Santangelo beat the best women's pair of 2007 - Cara Black and Liezel Huber - in straight sets 6-1, 6-2.

At the US Open, Mirza will be partnering American Bethanie Mattek in the women's doubles. The number 16 seeds face the unseeded pair of Jelena Jankovic and Severine Bremond in the first round. But their real test lies in a possible encounter with second seeds Lisa Raymond and Samantha Stosur in the third round. Mirza and Israel's Shahar Peer had lost to the duo at the same stage at Wimbledon.

In the mixed doubles, Mirza is partnering doubles specialist Mahesh Bhupathi, who's won the event twice before - with Ai Sugiyama in 1999 and Daniela Hantuchova in 2005.

India can also hope for good results from Bhupathi and Leander Paes in the men's doubles. Both have won it in the past though with different partners - Bhupathi with Max Mirnyi in 2002 and Paes with Martin Damm last year.

This year, Bhupathi and Serbia's Nenad Zimonjic, fresh from their victory at the Pilot Pen tournament, are seeded sixth and could run into defending champions and fourth seeds Paes and Damm in the quarter-finals.

Both Bhupathi and Paes haven't won a Grand Slam title this year and would be eager to finish the year on a high.

However, Indian fans would be disappointed that Rohan Bopanna won't be playing in the men's doubles. Bopanna, who along with Pakistan's Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi notched up four straight ATP doubles titles this season, could not qualify for a place in the doubles draw. The 27-year-old player is now ranked 87 in doubles, having jumped 40 places on the ATP list in the last two months.

Earlier this week, Bopanna and Prakash Amritraj crashed out in the qualifying rounds for the men's singles while Sunitha Rao came agonisingly close to joining Mirza in the women's singles draw.


  1. Hey Tony: great blog. Tennis commentary in India is still relatively unexplored, compared with cricket, which is overdone. I would like to read something about the player Sania is partnering this time. Never heard of her before. And any reason why she didn't choose to go with Shahar Peer again (political causes, perhaps?)? look forward to reading more.

  2. Hello Tony: excellent blog on Indian Tennis specialy on Sania Miza. I would like to read in detail about Sania Mirza's devlopment. In my opinion she should concentrate in singles only.
    Nigam Prasad

  3. SCS: I think Sania is in experiment mode or maybe Shahar has prior commitments. They certainly haven't split (hope not) and not for political reasons.

    Nigam: Many people think Sania is a better doubles player than at singles. In my opinion, she has enough time ahead of her to experiment and decide what she is better at. And currently, she is doing great in both.


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