It was a brilliant day for Indian tennis aces Leander Paes and Sania Mirza as both entered the finals at the prestigious Wimbledon in their respective categories but with the same partner, Swiss veteran Martina Hingis, here on Friday.
While Mirza and Hingis needed only 56 minutes to thrash American fifth seeds Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears 6-1, 6-2 in their women’s doubles semifinal, Paes and Hingis overcame American top seeds Mike Bryan and Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 12 minutes to enter the mixed doubles summit clash.
This is Mirza’s maiden final here across all formats in seniors though she had won the girls’ doubles title at the All England Club 12 years ago with Russia’s Alisa Kleybanova. Martina, on the other hand, has two doubles (1996, 1998) and one singles title (1997) to her credit that she won at the lone grass court Major. This is, however, Hingis’ first mixed doubles final here.
Though the World No.1 Mirza has three mixed doubles Grand Slam titles, she is yet to win the top prize in women’s doubles. The only time she reached a Major final in the category was at the 2011 French Open.
Coming to the match, the top seeds totally dominated both the sets.
In the first one, Mirza and Hingis broke their opponents twice out of four opportunities which was more than enough to seal the set in their favour. Though they gave three breakpoint chances to Raquel and Abigail, the top seeds managed to save all three. Also, they dominated by taking 30 of the 46 points played in the set.
The fifth seeds were already rattled by now which led to double faults thrice at crucial moments in the second set.
Mirza and Hingis got two chances to break Raquel and Abigail and utilised both perfectly to clinch the set and match.
They were so clinical that they did not even give a breakpoint opportunity to their opponents.
The world’s two highest ranked players will next take on Russian second seeds Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina for the title on Saturday.
Only a couple of hours later and on the same No.1 Court, Hingis returned to partner Paes. Though Mattek-Sands and Bryan played well, the seventh seeds proved just a tad bit better which was enough to seal the deal.
The difference was the conversion of the breakpoint opportunities in both the sets. Though both pairs earned six chances each in the match, it was Paes and Hingis who converted thrice to their opponents’ one, which proved to be the difference. Overall, the Indo-Swiss pair won 73 of the 134 points played.
The 42-year-old Paes has won the mixed doubles title here thrice before.
In 1999 he won it with American Lisa Raymond, in 2003 with the legendary Martina Navratilova and in 2010 with Zimbabwean Cara Black.
He has also won the men’s doubles title here with Mahesh Bhupathi way back in 1999.
Earlier in the day, another Indian Sumit Nagal, partnering Vietnam’s Nam Hoang Ly, earned a straight sets victory to enter the boys’s doubles semifinals.
The eighth seeds took only 53 minutes to defeat Japanese combination of Yusuke Takahashi and Jumpei Yamasaki 6-2, 6-3 on Court 6. Nagal and Ly will next take on Serbian-Norwegian pair of Miomir Kecmanovic and Casper Ruud for a place in the final.