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Sania-Hingis win Australian Open, complete 'Grand' hat-trick

Last updated on: January 29, 2016 14:47 IST

We had an incredible one year. Martina is an amazing champion and amazing person: Sania

They pushed us to the limit. It was a tough tournament. We will try to defend our title next year: Hingis


Image: Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis, right, pose with the trophy after winning the women's doubles final at the Australian Open on Friday. Photograph: Thomas Peter/Reuters.

In a perfect climax to their stupendous run, Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis were crowned Australian Open women's doubles champions on Friday after overcoming the spirited Czech duo of Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka in straight sets for their 36th victory in a row.

The top seeds beat the seventh seeds Czechs 7-6(1), 6-3 in the final that lasted an hour and 45 minutes.

It was their third consecutive Grand Slam title, having triumphed at Wimbledon and the US Open in the 2015 season.

Sania and Martina have now extended their unbeaten run to 36 matches, winning eight titles in a row.

They won five straight titles in 2015, starting with the US Open before the Australian Open now.

It was Sania's second crown at the Australian Open, having won the mixed doubles in 2009 with Mahesh Bhupathi. 

- Congratulate Sania and Martina on their triumph

The final, though, was not a stroll in the park for the world number one team as the Czechs put up a great fight in the opening set.

The match was littered with breaks as the two teams struggled to hold serve right through.

Hlavackova was excellent from the baseline and Hradecka as good at the net, both playing some breathtaking shots and winners. However, the Indo-Swiss pair had enough resources to blunt the challenge.

"I would like to thank everyone for coming out and supporting us. For me the Australian Open is special; it's like home.

"I have special memories here. We had an incredible one year. Martina is an amazing champion and an amazing person, so it is a privilege for me to play with her," Sania said.

"We know how good you (Czech team) are. We lost to you at Roland Garros. Hopefully we will have more finals to fight for," the Indian added.

Martina was equally effusive in praise of the Czechs.

"They pushed us to the limit. It was a tough tournament. We will try to defend our title next year."

 The world No.1 women’s doubles pair react after winning their third Grand Slam title together

IMAGE: The world No.1 women’s doubles pair react after winning their third Grand Slam title together. Photograph: Reuters.

In the opening set, the pairs held serve only twice each as it was full of breaks.

Hradecka ran frantically to her left from the net and smashed a volley past Sania off Hingis's return and then the Swiss served two consecutive double faults to hand the Czechs an early break.

The top seeds had three break chances in the next game -- the fourth -- on Hlavackova's serve but Czechs saved all.

Martina earned a fourth at deuce with a volley and converted it with a forehand passing winner.

A double fault by Sania at 30-40 gave the break back to the Czech players, who were leading 3-2.

Hradecka sent a forehand long to give Sania-Hingis a break-point and netted a backhand and the teams were again level at 3-3.

There was no end to the breaks as Hingis dropped serve next. Hlavackova's unreachable backhand lob gave the Czechs break-point and the Swiss sent a forehand wide. 

Hlavackova's long forehand at 30-40 meant that Sania-Hingis had a break chance but the latter's return landed wide and it was deuce.

The top seeds though made it 4-4 with Hlavackova's consecutive forehand errors from the baseline.

Sania was down 0-40 in the next game but saved all three break chances. A forehand to net by her at deuce and the top seeds faced another break chance but did well to save it.

Another break chance and this time the Czechs converted to lead 5-4.

The seventh seeds came out to serve out the set but were broken.

Hingis finally held her serve in the 11th game and the top seeds led 6-5, this time not allowing the Czechs to convert break opportunities.

Eventually the Czecks too held and it boiled down to a tie-break in which the Sania-Hingis trampled their opponents, losing just one point, to pocket the opening set.

They broke Hradecka in the very first game of the second set and never looked back after that.

Though Hingis was broken in the sixth game, the favourites broke back for a 5-2 lead.

There was more drama as Hingis was broken in the eighth while serving for the match and they squandered three match points in the ninth game on Hradecka's serve.

The Indo-Swiss pair finally closed the championship on the fourth chance.

- Congratulate Sania and Martina on their triumph