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Sania Mirza

Professional female tennis player from India.

Born in: India

 
 

Sania Mirza (born November 15, 1986, Mumbai, India resides in Hyderabad, India) is a professional female tennis player from India. Coached by her father, Imran Mirza, Sania began playing tennis at age six. She turned professional in 2003. She became the first and only Indian woman to reach the 4th round of a Grand Slam tournament at the 2005 US Open. She is now the highest ranked female tennis player ever from India (She had a rank of 42, her highest ever, by end of August 2005). Her original goal was to enter the top 100 by the end of 2005, but she revised it to entering the top 50 after good performances at the beginning of the year. (She may have also been helped by the fact that she has very few points to defend for this year and thus, it has been an upward journey in rankings.) As of July 2005, she ranked 5th among Asian women. Her year-end rank in 2004 was 206.

"My mother took me to a coach, who initially refused to coach me because I was too small," said Mirza. "After a month, he called my parents to say he'd never seen a player that good at such a young age." [From WTATour interview] She is 5 ft. 7 in. tall.

She has earned a large fan following in India as she is one of the very few young women from the country to have done well at the highest levels of sport. In 2005, she was awarded the Arjuna award in tennis for the year 2004. She has defeated two top 10 players, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Nadia Petrova. She is a devout Muslim, who began playing tennis at the age of six.

Sania won the Wimbledon Championships Girls' Doubles title in 2003, teaming up with Alisa Kleybanova of Russia. She got a wild card entry to the 2005 Australian Open and created history by becoming the first Indian woman to enter the third round of a Grand Slam tournament. She lost in the 3rd round to eventual champion Serena Williams. On February 12, 2005, she became the first Indian woman to win a WTA singles title defeating Alyona Bondarenko of Ukraine in the Hyderabad Open Finals.

In her Wimbledon Championships debut, Mirza won her first match at the 2005 event, defeating Akiko Morigami of Japan in three very tight sets, 6-3, 3-6, 8-6. However, she was narrowly defeated in the second round by Svetlana Kuznetsova (a player whom she had defeated earlier in the year for her first top ten victory) 4-6, 7-6, 4-6.

Watching her performance in Acura Classics, legendary Pancho Segura, Ecuador-born American player who roamed the courts in the 1940s and 50s, felt that Sania's hard-hitting game resembles that of Romanian tennis legend Nastase. Segura said that Sania has a natural way of hitting the ball and she hits it hard. These qualities remind him of Ilie Nastase.

Career Highlights

  • 2005 US Open: reaches 4th round by defeating Marion Bartoli of France in straight sets (7-6 (4), 6-4); Voted Best Player of the day on the 3rd day for winning her 2nd round match despite bleeding toes.

  • 2005 Forest Hills Women's Tennis Classic, New York: reaches her second WTA final but fails to win.

  • 2005 Acura Classic: upsets Nadia Petrova in 2nd round but loses in the third round to Akiko Morigami of Japan (2-6,6-4,4-6). By beating the 8th-ranked Petrova, she breaks into top 50 in world rankings for the first time ever.

  • 2005 Dubai Tennis Championships: 2nd Round: Upset reigning US Open Champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals.

  • 2005 Hyderabad Open singles: Won the tournament defeating Alyona Bondarenko of Ukraine 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 in the final and became the first Indian woman to capture a WTA singles title.

  • 2005 Australian Open singles: 3rd round: Became first Indian woman to reach the 3rd round of a Grand Slam tournament.

  • 2004 Hyderabad Open doubles: Won the tournament (partnering with Liezel Huber) to become the youngest Indian to win a WTA or ATP tour title and the first Indian woman to capture a WTA tour title.

  • 2003 Junior Wimbledon Championships doubles: Won the tournament (partnering with Alisa Kleybanova) to become the youngest Indian and the first Indian woman to win a junior Grand Slam title.

 

Professional Female Tennis Player, Imran Mirza, Grand Slam Tournament, 2005 US Open, Highest Ranked Female Tennis Player, India, Arjuna Award in Tennis, Wimbledon Championships Girls' Doubles Title, Alisa Kleybanova, Russia, Serena Williams, Alyona Bondarenko, Ukraine, Hyderabad Open Finals, Wimbledon Championships, Svetlana Kuznetsova