Veteran Indian tennis player Sania Mirza and her American partner Rajeev Ram moved into the second round of Australian Open 2022 mixed doubles category after overcoming the Serbian team of Aleksandra Krunic and Nikola Cacic 6-3, 7-6(3) in an opening round match that lasted for 69 minutes on Thursday. The result comes a day after the most accomplished Indian women’s star announced that she will be retiring from the game after the 2022 season. Her partner Ram, is meanwhile, the defending champion at the event as he won the previous season of mixed doubles category with his Czech partner Barbora Krejcikova.
“There’s a bunch reasons for it. It’s not as simple as ‘okay I’m not going to play’. I do feel my recovery is taking longer, I do feel, considering my son is three years old, I’m putting him at risk by travelling so much with him, that’s something I have to take into account. Unfortunately, the pandemic is making us take certain decision for the well-being of ourself and family” Mirza said at the post-match press conference.
“Also, my body is wearing down. My knee was really hurting today and I’m not saying that’s the reason we lost but I do think that it is taking time to recover as I’m getting older,” she added.
The Indo-American pair had a chance to take lead in the second game but Mirza missed out on the opportunity. The pair again got a chance off a serve from Krunic but Mirza could not finish the point with a volley before earning the break on the deciding point. The American looked solid with his serves with the Indian dishing out points through her volleys to seal the first set with comparative ease.
The second set was, meanwhile, tied at 5-5. But Mirza did well with her serve to take the match to the tie-breaker. The Serbian team lost a point each on their respective serves to hand the Indo-American pair a first round win.
Incidentally, Mirza was supposed to partner with Ram, at Australian Open 2020 but had partnered Rohan Bopanna instead after the American had pulled out due to injury.
The last three years has also been fulfilling for Ram as his doubles career saw a meteoric rise. He clinched the 2019 Australian Open mixed doubles title with his Czech Republic partner Barbora Krejčíková and then went on to add a men’s doubles title in his cabinet from the 2020 Australian Open with Joe Salisbury.