Doha: Sania Mirza has made a winning return to the WTA circuit. She and her Slovenian partner Andreja Klepac beat Ukrainians Nadiia Kichenok and Lyudmyla Kichenok to reach the doubles quarterfinals of the Qatar Total Open tennis event here Monday night. The Indo-Slovenian pair won 6-4, 6-7(5-7), 10-5 against Kichenok and Kichenok in the opening round of the WTA 500 tournament. It was the first competitive match for Sania Mirza in more than 12 months. She last played here only in February 2020 before pandemic halted the tennis competitions across the world. Sania herself had recovered from COVID-19 in January this year.
It was Nadiia with whom Sania had paired when she returned to competitive tennis after maternity leave. The two won the doubles title at the Hobart Open in January last year.
An early break put Sania and Klepac down 0-3 and struggling at deuce in the fourth game but they managed to hold on, getting on board. The Indo-Slovenian pair needed just one break to get back on serve and they got that in the seventh game, breaking the Kichenok sisters at love in the seventh. With an easy hold, they were 4-all and pocketed the set with another break.
The Ukrainians again drew the first blood in the second set for a 3-1 lead. However, Sania and Klepac fought hard to drag it to the tie-breaker. However, they lost the set and pushed the match into the super tie-breaker. The Indo-Slovenian pair raced to a 5-1 lead in a jiffy and closed the match, converting the second match point.