NEW HAVEN, CT, USA - Sania Mirza and Monica Niculescu capped off their newly rekindled doubles partnership with their first title together at the Connecticut Open, edging past Kateryna Bondarenko and Chuang Chia-Jung 7-5, 6-4.
The last time Mirza and Niculescu partnered up was way back in 2010, where they joined forces to reach the quarterfinals at the Western & Southern Open. They played that one tournament together before calling time on the partnership, but the pair have remained friends ever since.
So when Niculescu called Mirza last week asking them to team up again, it was inevitable that World No.1 Mirza would say yes.
"I asked Sania in Cincinnati," Niculescu explained. "I had an idea maybe she wants to play here. I ask her. When she said yes, I was so excited. It seems we won the tournament, so I'm happy I asked her."
"We know each other for a long time," Mirza added. "Also our games kind of suit each other, so you have that confidence. I think it helped we got a couple first easy matches in terms of the way we played. We kind of found our rhythm almost immediately."
The newly minted pairing opened their Connecticut Open campaign with a commanding straight sets win over American wildcards Alison Riske and Louisa Chirico, then overpowered regular duo Darija Jurak and Anastasia Rodionova in straight sets. They faced a close fight against the No.3 seeded Andreja Klepac and Katarina Srebotnik, squeezing out a comeback, 2-6, 6-3, 10-8, to make it to the final.
"It's always nice to have the week before a Grand Slam where you're able to ease up," Mirza explained in post-match press. "We go to New York and there's so much happening there. Here you have nice restaurants and even though we're in the city, you feel quite quiet around here.
"I was actually not planning on completely playing this week. But when Monica asked me, I thought we could obviously win together."
Despite winning a title on their first tournament back together, they both made it clear that this partnership is just for the short term and both will return to their regular partners in time for the US Open.
"I play with Barbora Strycova," Mirza assured.
"I play with Vania King," Niculescu added. "That's why I said I hope it's not the last time we going to play together."