New Delhi: Indian ace Sania Mirza and Switzerland's Martina Hingis won their second successive women's doubles Grand Slam title on Sunday after defeating Casey Dellacqua and Yaroslava Shvedova in the US Open final in New York.
The top-ranked Indo-Swiss pair took little more than an hour to finish the job as the duo continues to raise the profile of an otherwise limited event on the tour. They won the final match in straight sets 6-3, 6-3 in front of relatively sizeable Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd. The pair had won the Wimbledon title in July, defeating Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina 5-7, 7-6(7-4), 7-5 in the final.
In a tantalising first set, the top seeded duo broke the Aussie-Kazakh pair in the second game itself. But despite failing to consolidate the break with Mirza on serve on the third game, they went on to win the opening set 6-3 in 31 minutes.
The same script followed in the second set too, with Sania-Martina pair breaking the very first game. There was a little fight-back from the Aussie-Kazakh pair in the seventh game, breaking the top-seeded players. But a double fault gifted Sania-Martina match point in the very next game.
Then, Hingis played an exquisite high volley on the next point to win the title, 6-3, 6-3 in 69 minutes.
This is Mirza's first US Open women's doubles title and fifth Grand Slam victory overall. She won the mixed doubles title last year with Brazilian Bruno Soares. Sania-Martina started the match as the favourites, and the pair won the title without dropping set in the tournament.
For Hingis, it was her 11th doubles' title. She had previously partnered with Anna Kournikova, Mary Pierce, Jana Novotna, Mirjana Lucic, Natasha Zvereva and Helena Sukova in an impressive career.
On Friday, the Swiss legend had won the US Open mixed doubles crown partnering with Leander Paes, in route to becoming the first team since 1969 to win three Grand Slam mixed doubles titles. The duo had previously won the Australia Open and Wimbledon together. It was her fourth mixed-doubles title, third with Paes. She won the 2006 Australian Open title with another Indian Mahesh Bhupathi.
Thus Hingis, in an extraordinary season, has won five Grand Slam titles in 2015, taking her overall number to 20. She was also the US Open doubles runner-up last year alongside Flavia Pennetta, who won her first Grand Slam singles crown yesterday, defeating her Italian compatriot Roberta Vinci in the women`s singles final.
Hingis, 34, is the youngest singles Grand Slam champion of the 20th century and also the youngest-ever world No. 1 in both singles and doubles. Before ligament injuries in both ankles spoilt her career in 2002, the Swiss sensation had won five Grand Slam singles titles (Australian Open - 1997, 98, 99), Wimbledon (1997) and US Open (1997). She was also a two-time finalists at the French Open, losing to Iva Majoli in 1997 and Steffi Graf in 1999.
Australia`s Dellacqua, 30, was seeking her first Grand Slam doubles crown but settles for a sixth runner-up showing, including the 2013 US and Australian Opens and Wimbledon plus the 2008 and 2015 French Opens.
Kazak Shvedova, 28, had previously won two Major women`s doubles titles, all in 2010 at Wimbledon and the US Open. Interestingly, Shvedova had been due to get married on Saturday but has had to shelve those plans due to her surprise run to the title match at the Flushing Meadows.
For the record, the 28-year-old Indian has won titles in all Grand Slam tournaments – Wimbledon (2015 - Doubles), US Open (2014 - Mixed doubles, 2015 - Women's doubles), French Open (2012 - Mixed doubles) and Australian Open (2009 - Mixed doubles).
Mirza is currently the top-ranked doubles' player, while her partner Hingis is second.
In 2009, Mirza had become India's first woman player to win a Grand Slam title when she won the Australian Open with compatriot Mahesh Bhupathi. And she was also the first Indian girl to win a Major title, winning the Wimbledon 2003 doubles' event with Alisa Kleybanova of Russia. She was 16 years old then.
Last month, she was conferred with the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award last month, becoming the second tennis player to receive the country's highest sporting honour after Paes.