Sania Mirza is an accomplished Indian tennis player.© AFP
Sania Mirza and her Czech partner Lucie Hradecka showed fearless tennis, but much younger and superior American singles Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula won the third round of the French Open women’s doubles on Tuesday, in Paris. Despite a combined age of 72, Mirza and Hradecka produced high quality tennis but lost 4-6 3-6 to Pegula, 11th in singles and world No. 23 Gauff.
Mirza was impressive with her lower and angled forehands, while Hradecka’s powerful backhand hitting from the baseline was a joy to watch, but the Americans took those crucial points that dictated the outcome of the game.
Mirza and Hradecka trailed 3-5 in the opening set, but Gauff, while serving for the set, made a double foul to give a break chance.
Mirza easily sent a volley to take the breaking point for the team. Hradecka then served and at 30-all, Sania pulled an overhead smash to give the Americans the set point, which was converted when the Czech made a return error. Mirza and Hradecka had a little eye on their rivals by now and the fearless and confident hitting had begun.
The Indo-Czech duo took the lead in the second set by breaking Pegula’s serve in the very first game and Mirza made it 2-0 with an easy grab. Gauff’s service came under pressure. At 30-all, Mirza went for a deep return but it sailed over the baseline. Hradecka also went for the big shot, but her unforced error brought the Americans on board. Pegula found a beautiful angled winner who took off from the corner of the field when Hradecka served at 15-40, making it 2-2. They threatened to drop the serve again, but Mirza saved three breakpoints in the sixth game. The Americans also managed to save three break chances.
However, the Americans found a way to get another break and Pegula served out the game and the pair advanced to the quarter-finals.
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