Sania to partner Hingis again in WTA Finals

Sania Mirza is set to partner Swiss Martina Hingis again in Singapore next week in a bid to defend the year-end WTA Finals doubles championship and retain the World No. 1 ranking.

Sania Mirza (left) will partner Martina Hingis after splitting with her in August this year as they qualified for the Singapore event when they were together on the circuit.   -  Reuters

Six-time Grand Slam winner Sania Mirza is gearing up to ensure another memorable outing in Singapore when she partners Swiss great Martina Hingis again. Her endeavour will be to defend the year-end WTA Finals doubles championship and retain the World No. 1 ranking.

Sania's 80 weeks at No. 1 are not just a record for an Indian woman but for any Indian player - male or female. Leander Paes was World No. 1 for 39 weeks and Bhupathi for four weeks. No Indian woman has got to even top 50 in the world.

Sania will retain her No. 1 ranking only if she wins the doubles title again in Singapore. The others who are in the race for the top slot include her former partner Bethanie Mattek Sands.

Interestingly, the three other women players in the history of the game who have had longer continuous stints as World No. 1 in women’s doubles are Martina Navratilova, Cara Black and Liezel Huber.

Significantly, Hingis lost her No. 1 ranking the day she split with Sania and was beaten by the Indian in Cincinnati. In a way, Hingis is not in the race for World No.1 right now irrespective of the result in Singapore.

'Amazing journey'

Sania will partner Hingis after splitting with her in August this year as they qualified for the Singapore event when they were together on the circuit. With Hingis, Sania has won 14 titles including 3 Grand Slams. “It has been an amazing journey and just inspires me to work harder. I feel truly blessed and honoured to have held this position for this long,” says Sania.

For someone who had her won first WTA title (doubles partnering Leizel Huber) in the Hyderabad Open in 2004, Sania has been a phenomenon from India of sorts by any means to scale unprecedented heights in women’s tennis by the sheer weight of her performances.

Not surprisingly, Sania is keen to script a memorable finish in Singapore edition again. “Definitely, you don’t keep thinking day in and day out about these rankings. For what matters ultimately is how well you play on a given day,” says Sania. “Yes, in terms of satisfaction, there can be few better joys than being the World No. 1 for so long and I, for sure, will treasure this long reign,” she remarked.

“I reiterate that reaching the top is easier than staying there for long. And, this is what gives me great satisfaction as this World No.1 ranking also meant that I am the best in doubles. What more can any sportsperson ask for in any discipline?” Sania reasoned.

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