Doubles Breakthrough For Mirza & Vesnina
Published March 20, 2011 12:00
INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - A Premier title without losing a set... not bad for just their third WTA tournament as a team. Sania Mirza and Elena Vesnina capped a fantastic fortnight in Indian Wells Saturday, beating Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Meghann Shaughnessy for their first title at Indian Wells.
Mirza and Vesnina, who were quarterfinalists at Dubai and Doha in February, were unseeded in Indian Wells and definitely not on the list of favorites at the Premier event. But their all-court prowess meshed perfectly the whole time as they lost just 19 games in their first four matches - including a surprise 62 63 upset over No.7 seeds Iveta Benesova and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.
Facing No.8 seeds Mattek-Sands and Shaughnessy they came out swinging again, winning the first set at love in just 25 minutes. The Americans rebounded in the second set, building a 5-1 lead, but Mirza and Vesnina went on another roll of six straight games to close out the championship on center court, 60 75.
"We tried playing together in Dubai and Doha and it worked fine," Vesnina said. "From our first match you could see it was already a team. It really works."
"We weren't even supposed to play here, because initially I wasn't going to play Indian Wells," Mirza said. "Now we're planning to play the rest of the year."
Mirza and Vesnina have also been Top 30 in singles and are hoping the doubles success will help boost them back towards that form. "It improves certain areas of your game you don't use in singles," Mirza said. "People who do better in doubles, they go into singles and go to net and use certain serves more. It has always helped me - I guess I'm Indian, doubles comes more naturally to me!"
Mirza captured her 10th WTA doubles title, Vesnina picked up her fourth.
Mattek-Sands and Shaughnessy, who had upset No.3 seeds Liezel Huber and Nadia Petrova en route to the final, were playing their fourth WTA doubles final as a team and now have a 1-3 record in those (winning in Paris this year).