Wimbledon: Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza defied all odds to win her maiden women's doubles title at a Grand Slam event by clinching the Wimbledon crown with Swiss veteran Martina Hingis here.
The top seeded duo made a remarkable comeback to beat Russian second seeds Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina 5-7, 7-6(4), 7-5 in two hours and 25 minutes in the final late on Saturday night.
This was Sania's first women's doubles title at Grand Slams though the World No.1 has three mixed doubles trophies at Major events. The only time before this she reached a Grand Slam final in women's doubles was at the 2011 French Open.
This was also the Hyderabadi's maiden final at the All England Club across all senior formats though she had won the girls' doubles title here 12 years ago with Russia's Alisa Kleybanova.
Martina, on the other hand, has two women's doubles (1996, 1998) and one singles title (1997) to her credit that she won at the lone grass court Major. Saturday's trophy comes after a long gap of 17 years.
This was also Sania and Martina's, ranked No.1 and No.2 respectively, first Major final together.
The top seeds had a wobbly start as they were broken in the very first game of the match but reverted back to level in the next game when they broke Ekaterina and Elena.
The top two seeded pairs held on to their serves till the 10th game but the Russians broke Sania and Martina in the 11th game and then held serve in the 12th to clinch the first set and take the lead in the match.
The second set was even more hotly contested as neither pair even gave a breakpoint opportunity. The set entered the tie-break where the Indo-Swiss combine proved a tad bit better to win it and push the match into the deciding set.
The Russians responded strongly at the start of the third set. The 28-year-old Sania and Martina looked completely out of sorts as in no time they were already 2-5 down.
The Russian second seeds looked well on their way to victory when Sania and Martina staged an incredible comeback to win the next three games and level the set at 5-5.
It was then decided that the retractable roof was to be shut due to bad light. The players went indoors to take a 10-minute break and returned to play under artificial lights on Centre Court.
By now the momentum had swung in favour of the Indo-Swiss combine as they immediately broke Ekaterina and Elena to serve for the set which they easily completed in the next game to be crowned champions.
"For a match like this, the No.1 and No.2 seeds playing, it was the best match you could have asked for the tournament. It was unbelievably exciting to play. I really hope it was exciting to watch, too," Sania said.
"Even when we were down, we knew we were giving everything we had on the court. These are the moments we worked years and years and all our lives for. This is what we play for. We feel really honoured to have won that match really."
The 34-year-old Martina will return on Sunday evening to also play the mixed doubles final with India's Leander Paes.