Paris: Sania Mirza
created history by becoming the first Indian woman to enter a
Grand Slam doubles final.
Sania, who lifted a Grand Slam title when she won the mixed
doubles with compatriot Mahesh Bhupathi at the Australian Open in
2009 after losing the final the previous year, is in the midst of
her best year on the Tour.
From a career-best ranking of 27 in 2007, Sania went hurtling down
to 141 at the start of the year after a series of injuries in the
last two years.
It was a hard grind for Sania who had to qualify for even
second-tier Tour events. She received a wildcard at both the Dubai
and Qatar Open and the turnaround came when she won three matches
to qualify for the main draw at the season's first Grand Slam, the
Sania not only improved her singles ranking steadily to 72 before
she came to Paris but she also made rapid progress in the doubles
with Russian Elena Vesnina. The two women came together at the
Qatar Open and quickly established themselves as a potent doubles
Sania and Vesnina were seeded seventh here. Their 6-3, 2-6, 6-4,
upset win over fourth seeds American Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond
was preceded by their stunner against top seeds Gisela Dulko and
Flavia Pannetta at Stade Roland Garros.
The 37-year-old Raymond is a former French Open doubles champion
and her partner Huber has won four Grand Slam doubles titles with
Zimbabwean Cara Black, but she doesn't have French Open title to
her credit yet.
Sania and Vesnina played some brilliant tennis to 4-1 up in the
first set and in 30 minutes they were a set up. However, a stream
of errors saw them lose the second set. Both the players came back
strongly in the decider and Elena served out the set and the
The Indo-Russian pair play Czechs Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie
Hradecka in the Friday's final, with the winning team splitting
$475,000 prize money.
The unseeded Czech pair shocked third-seeded Vania King of the US
and Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-3. King, a former
partner of Sania, and Shvedova are the reigning US Open and
Sania and Elena, who won titles at Indian Wells and Charleston,
hold a 20-4 record. Until Wednesday, they had not dropped a set in
The two finalists have met once before, with Sania and Elena
winning in straight sets in the first round at Indian Wells.
Vesnina is the only one of the four finalists to play in a Grand
Slam women's doubles final, having been runner-up at the 2009
French Open alongside Victoria Azarenka and in 2010 Wimbledon
alongside Vera Zvonareva.
Hlavackova and Hradecka are the second unseeded French Open
finalists in 30 years, the others being the 2008 runners-up Casey
Dellacqua and Francesca Schiavone. If they win Friday, they would
be the sixth unseeded team to capture a major in three decades.