Giving the home crowd something to cheer about, Sania Mirza partnered South African Liezel Huber to a comprehensive doubles victory at the USD 175,000 Sunfeast Open in Kolkata on Sunday.
Top seeds Sania and Huber scripted a convincing 6-4, 6-0 win in just under an hour against Ukrainian duo of Yuliana Fedak and Yulia Beygelzimer in the final to clinch their third career title on the WTA Tour.
The pair, who had won at Hyderabad in 2004 and at Bangalore this year, pocketed a winners' cheque of USD 8,250 and 120 WTA points.
The result was symbolic of Sania's fortunes on the court this season which has seen her struggle in the singles play but flourish in doubles.
It was her fifth appearance in a doubles final this year, having also ended runner-up at Amelia Island (with Huber), at Istanbul (Alicia Molik) and Cincinnati (Domochowska).
"Any title is special. This is my first title in Kolkata. I hope I will come back next year and win the singles," a jubilant Sania said after the match.
"Today, we played good tennis. I also played better. And what's important is that we won," said the 19-year-old from Hyderabad.
Sania seemed tentative on her serve at the start, and was broken twice, in the first and fifth games of the first set.
Huber, who was in fine fettle through the tournament, led the way with fine net play and superb anticipation as the pair proceeded to overwhelm their third seeded opponents.
The Ukrainians, who had won the previous two rounds by default as their rivals were forced to retire following injuries, saw their luck run out as the crowd favourites broke Fedak in the fourth game and meted out the same treatment to Beygelzimer in the sixth.
Beygelizimer dropped serve again in the 10th game with Sania closing the set in 37 minutes by unleashing her signature forehand which Fedak found too hot to handle.
With their confidence on a high, Sania and Huber played with gusto even as the Ukrainians lapsed into a series of unforced errors.
The rest of the game was completely one sided, with the title favourites, Huber, improving with every point and proceeding to snatch Fedak's serve in the second and sixth games, and in between, demolishing Beygelzimer in the fourth to romp to the title.