Sania Mirza

Sania MirzaSania Mirza (born 15 November 1986) is an Indian tennis player. She began her tennis career in 2003. In 2004 she was awarded the Arjuna award by the Indian Government. She is known for her powerful forehand ground strokes.

Early life

Mirza was born to Imran Mirza, a sports journalist and his wife Nasima in Mumbai, India. She was brought up in Hyderabad in a religious Muslim family. Mirza began playing tennis at the age of six, turning professional in 2003. She was trained by her father and other family members. She attended Nasr school in Hyderabad and later graduated from St. Mary’s College.

Career

In April 2003, Mirza made her debut in the India Fed Cup team, winning all three singles matches. She also won the 2003 Wimbledon Championships Girls’ Doubles title, teaming up with Alisa Kleybanova of Russia.

Mirza is the highest ranked female tennis player ever from India, with a career high ranking of 27 in singles and 18 in doubles. She is the first Indian woman to be seeded in a Grand Slam tennis tournament. She was the first Indian woman to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament at the 2005 U.S. Open, defeating Mashona Washington, Maria Elena Camerin and Marion Bartoli. In winning, with Mahesh Bhupathi, the mixed doubles event at the 2009 Australian Open, she became the first Indian woman to win a Grand Slam title.

In 2005, Mirza reached the third round of the Australian Open, losing to eventual champion Serena Williams. On 12 February 2005, she became the first Indian woman to win a WTA singles title, defeating Alyona Bondarenko of Ukraine in the Hyderabad Open Finals. As of September 2006, Mirza has notched up three top 10 wins; against Svetlana Kuznetsova, Nadia Petrova and Martina Hingis. At the 2006 Doha Asian Games, Mirza won the silver in the women’s singles category and the gold in the mixed doubles partnering Leander Paes. She was also part of the Indian women’s team that won the silver in the team event.

In 2006, Mirza was awarded a Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest honor for her achievements as a tennis player.

Mirza had had the best results of her career during the 2007 summer hardcourt season, finishing eighth in the 2007 U.S. Open Series standings. She reached the final of the Bank of the West Classic and won the doubles event with Shahar Pe’er, and reached the quarterfinals of the Tier 1 Acura Classic.

At the 2007 U.S. Open, she reached the third round before losing to Anna Chakvetadze for the third time in recent weeks. She fared much better in the doubles, reaching the quarterfinals in mixed with her partner Mahesh Bhupathi and the quarterfinals in the women’s doubles with Bethanie Mattek, including a win over number two seeds Lisa Raymond and Samantha Stosur.

Mirza received an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from the MGR Educational and Research Institute University in Chennai on 2008-12-11. Her niece, Sonia Baig Mirza, studies there.

2008

Mirza reached the quarter-finals at Hobart as No. 6 seed. She lost to Flavia Pennetta in three sets. She reached the third round at the Australian Open as No.31 seed, where she lost to No.8 seed Venus Williams 7-6(0) 6-4, having led 5-3 in the first set. She was runner-up in the Australian Open mixed doubles partnering Mahesh Bhupathi. Sun Tiantian and Nenad Zimonjić) won the final 7–6(4), 6–4.

She withdrew from Pattaya City because of a left adductor strain.

Mirza reached the 4r at Indian Wells as No.21 seed, defeating No.9 seed Shahar Pe’er en route, but lost to No.5 seed Daniela Hantuchová.

At the 2008 Wimbledon Championships, as No.32 seed, Mirza was defeated by qualifier Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, 6-0, 4-6, 9-7, having had several match points.

Mirza was eliminated in the first round of the 2008 Beijing Olympics when she retired in her match against Iveta Benešová because of a right wrist injury. Throughout 2008, Mirza was plagued by a slew of wrist injuries, requiring her to withdraw from several matches and the Roland Garros and US Open Grand Slams.

2009

Mirza picked up her first Grand Slam title at the 2009 Australian Open. Partnered with Mahesh Bhupathi, she won the mixed doubles title beating Nathalie Dechy (France) and Andy Ram (Israel) 6-3, 6-1 in the final in Melbourne. She then entered the Pattaya Women’s Open Tournament in Bangkok where she reached the finals after a string of good performances. She lost the finals to Vera Zvonareva 7-5, 6-1. She made the semis in doubles in the same tournament.

Mirza then competed in the BNP Paribas Open where she lost in the second round to Flavia Pennetta. She then participated in the Miami Masters and lost to Mathilde Johansson of France in the first round. Mirza and her doubles partner Chia-jung Chuang of Chinese Taipei made the semifinals of the doubles event. Mirza lost in the first round of the MPS Group Championships but won the doubles title with Chuang. She lost in the first round at Roland Garros, losing to Kazakhstan’s Galina Voskoboeva. She also lost in the second round of the doubles (with Chuang) and mixed doubles (with Mahesh Bhupathi). She participated in the 2009 AEGON Classic and reached the semifinals, losing to Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia 3-6,6-0,6-3, who eventually won the title.

Mirza defeated Anna-Lena Gronefeld in the first round of the 2009 Wimbledon Championships. She then fell to #28 Sorana Cirstea in the second round. She competed in and won the Lexington Challenger event, defeating top seed Julie Coin of France in the final. She also reached the final of the ITF event in Vancouver but lost to Stephanie Dubois of Canada. Playing in the U.S Open, she defeated Olga Govortsova in the first round but lost 6-0, 6-0 to 10th seed Flavia Pennetta of Italy. She also lost in the second round of the doubles event (partnering Francesca Schiavone) to Shahar Peer and Gisela Dulko.

Mirza successfully qualified for the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo but lost in the first round to Zheng Jie. Mirza won the first set but could not hold the lead, eventually losing to the Chinese player 7-5, 2-6, 3-6.

At Osaka, Mirza won her first round match against 5th seed Shahar Peer 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. Mirza then defeated Viktoriya Kutuzova 6-4, 6-3 and in the quarterfinal she defeated 2nd seed Marion Bartoli 6-4, 2-0 by retirement. Bartoli conceded her match and Mirza moved on to the semifinal to meet 4th seed Francesca Schiavone of Italy.

Career Timeline

April 2003: Makes her debut in the India Fed Cup team; wins all three singles matches.

Won the 2003 Wimbledon Championships Girls` Doubles title along with Alisa Kleybanova of Russia.

In 2004, she ended runner-up at the Asian Tennis Championship.

In 2005, Sania became the first Indian woman to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament at the U.S. Open.

In 2005, she reached the third round of the Australian Open.

In 2005, she became the first Indian woman to win a WTA singles title, claiming the Hyderabad Open.

At the 2006 Doha Asian Games, Sania won the silver in the women`s singles category and the gold in the mixed doubles with Leander Paes.

In 2006, she was awarded a Padma Shri.

At the 2007 U.S. Open, Mirza reached the third round and reached the mixed quarterfinals with Mahesh Bhupathi.

Sania Mirza received an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from MGR Educational and Research Institute University in Chennai in 2008.

In 2008, she reached the quarter-finals at Hobart as No. 6 seed. Mirza reached the third round at the Australian Open. She was also the runner-up in the Australian Open mixed doubles with partner Mahesh Bhupathi.

She was eliminated in the first round of the 2008 Beijing Olympics when she retired in her match against Iveta Benešová.

In 2009, she picked up her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open with Mahesh Bhupathi, winning the mixed doubles title. She went on reach the Pattaya Women`s Open Tournament final in Bangkok.

Sania Mirza is the highest ever ranked Indian female singles tennis player, reaching a ranking of 27.

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