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Sensational 2014 for Sania; Paes, Bopanna, Somdev fall short

December 19, 2014 08:45 IST

Sania Mirza

Sania Mirza turned showstopper for designer Ritu Pande at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2015

When is comes to Indian tennis, it has to be the year of Sania Mirza!

The Hyderabadi ace set aside all controversies and soared. Having overcome career-threatening injuries she was back to winning ways.

Sania won her third mixed doubles Grand Slam title and wrapped up a dream season with the year-end finale trophy even as India's established male tennis players found the going tough in 2014.

Sania Mirza and Bruno Soares

Sania Mirza and Bruno Soares kiss the US Open mixed doubles trophy. Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters

The 28-year-old, who has many firsts to her name, grew further in stature as she became the first Indian to win the season-ending finale, a feat that has eluded even old war-horse Leander Paes.

Sania won the US Open with first-time partner Bruno Soares and now has three mixed doubles Grand Slam trophies in her cabinet, which already consists of the Australian Open and French Open.

Telangana CM K Chandrashekhar Rao presents a letter of appointment as the brand ambassador of the state to Sania Mirza

Telangana CM K Chandrashekhar Rao presents a letter of appointment as the brand ambassador of the state to Sania Mirza. Photograph: PTI Photo

With her consistent performance throughout the year, Sania made seven WTA finals and won three titles with Zimbabwean partner Cara Black, achieving a career-best world ranking of number five.

Her US Open title came after an unwarranted controversy created by a politician, who questioned her appointment as the ambassador of the newly-created State of Telangana.

The Hyderabadi broke down on television, debating on the issue, but later answered in a befitting manner, dedicating her US Open title to the people of Telangana.

Sania Mirza and Saketh Myneni

Sania Mirza and Saketh Myneni pose with their Asian Games gold medals. Photograph: PTI Photos

She nearly courted another controversy after initially withdrawing her name from the national squad for the Asian Games but after being assured of a place in the WTA Finals, she decided to compete at the Incheon Games.

She came out with a gold in the mixed doubles with Saketh Myneni and a bronze in women's doubles with Prarthana Thombare in India's five-medal tally.

Somdev Devvarman

Somdev Devvarman. Photograph: Stanley Chou/Getty Images

On the men's side, it was a very tough year for singles star Somdev Devvarman and doubles specialists Paes and Rohan Bopanna, who suffered a significant drop in the rankings.

Paes could win only one title in the season; after beginning the year inside the top-10 he is now languishing at number 29, just ahead of Bopanna.

The Coorgi's renewed partnership with Pakistani partner Aisam-ul-haq Qureshi also did not yield the desired results and they could win only one title in the year apart from ending runners-up in two others.

Bopanna began the year at number 13 and ended it at 30.

However, the biggest disappointment was seeing Somdev struggle on court. Supremely fit and extremely passionate, he was nowhere close to his best. Crossing even the second round seemed a mountain to climb for him.