NEW HAVEN, CT, USA - They withstood a couple of challenges throughout the week, and Saturday's final was far from easy either, but Sania Mirza and Zheng Jie emerged with their first WTA title in their fourth outing at the New Haven Open at Yale.
The third-seeded Mirza and Zheng were extended to match tie-breaks in their first two matches in New Haven, and after a comfortable semifinal win faced off against second-seeded Anabel Medina Garrigues and Katarina Srebotnik, who had never won a title together but who had 55 WTA doubles titles between them.
Mirza and Zheng fell behind an early break but quickly got it back and from 3-3 in the first set won six of the next seven games to capture the first set and take control of the second. They did have a bit of trouble closing it out, as at 5-2 in the second set Medina Garrigues and Srebotnik won two games in a row and then got to deuce on Mirza's serve before the Indian-Chinese duo finished off the 63 64 triumph on their fifth match point.
"We didn't start the tournament too well, winning a couple of what you might call ugly matches," Mirza said. "But we kept getting better with each match. It was great to play our best match in the final.
"It's tough with this format. It's relentless. There's really no margin of error with the deuce points, the super tie-break. It's just a toss-up sometimes. Even today's match was 63 64, but it was much tighter with the deuce points. The last set we won three deuce games."
Mirza talked about how her partnership with Zheng, which will continue at the US Open, came together.
"I was playing with Bethanie this year. She was playing with Nuria," Mirza said. "Nuria got hurt. Bethanie got hurt. I was looking. We had played together in Brussels earlier this year and made the semis. We knew we could play well together."
"I think this is a good start and gives us big confidence for the US Open," Zheng said. "We are looking forward to playing together as long as possible. "
This was Mirza's 17th WTA doubles title and third this year, and Zheng's 15th WTA doubles title and first in over two years. Each player had won New Haven once previously, Mirza with Mara Santangelo in 2007 and Zheng with Yan Zi in 2006.