Black & Mirza's Fantastic Fortnight
Published October 05, 2013 12:02
BEIJING, China - Cara Black and Sania Mirza put the finishing touches on a breakthrough first two weeks as a team on Saturday night, following last week's triumph in Tokyo with another title in Beijing.
Having never played together beforehand, Black and Mirza won the Premier-level Toray Pan Pacific Open last week and followed it up with the Premier Mandatory-level China Open this week, dusting off the run in the Chinese capital with a 62 62 win over Vera Dushevina and Arantxa Parra Santonja.
The No.8-seeded Black and Mirza didn't lose a set all week, which included a straight set win over No.1 seeds Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci in the semifinals - the co-No.1 doubles players in the world.
"We only started playing together last week - we try to win, of course, but we never expected to win, especially since we started at two of the biggest tournaments," Mirza said. "To play so well with a new partner and to win two titles on the trot, it doesn't happen every day - it's tough to top this one.
"We'll try to top this, though. We'll try to do an off-season together, maybe in India, work on some things together. Because in tennis you always have to keep improving to keep winning, and always trying to take it to the next level. It's something we both want. We're going to make a collective effort."
"We couldn't have asked for a better start," Black said. "We'll be playing together next year, so this is a pretty good start for that. We're looking forward to giving it a shot and playing the whole year.
"We're going to have a good off-season. I'd like to improve all around, especially my serve and things like that, play on the ground a bit better - it'll be fine tuning, which will be a lot of fun to work on."
Black has now won three WTA doubles titles since coming back as a mom this year, at Auckland (with Anastasia Rodionova) and now Tokyo and Beijing (with Mirza). She has 57 WTA doubles titles to her name, making her 13th on the all-time list - Martina Navratilova leads that list with an incredible 177.
Additionally, Mirza is the first player this year to capture five WTA doubles titles.
Dushevina and Parra Santonja were playing in their biggest final, together and individually, at the Premier Mandatory-level event. It was just their third tournament together, but one of their previous attempts together could have been some foreshadowing - they made the semifinals here back in 2010.