Sunday, April 10, 2011

Mirza & Vesnina win Charleston doubles title

"Hello again," Elena Vesnina said to the crowd when she made a speech at the Family Circle Cup for the second time in one day. This speech, however, represented an even nicer occasion for the unseeded singles runner-up. She and partner Sania Mirza defeated Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Meghann Shaughnessy 6-4, 6-4 to win the doubles championship.  Mirza and Vesnina, also unseeded, broke the 4th seeds five times.

The winning team served for the first set at 5-3, but were broken. Shaughnessy then served two consecutive aces, and she and Mattek-Sands held at love, but they were unable to break Mirza and Vesnina when they served a second time for the set.

Mirza and Vesnina went up 2-0 in the second set, and a big forehand from Mirza set the team up to get a second break. They went up 3-0 when, suddenly, a ballboy collapsed. Play was suspended while a trainer came out to treat the ballboy, who was then carried off of the court (he recovered quite nicely, and returned to the match). Mattek-Sands and Shaughnessy held for 1-4, then broke Mirza and Vesnina on their second break point. They then held for 3-4.

The next game went to deuce, and Mirza and Vesnina were broken when Mirza double-faulted on the deciding point. Mattek-Sands and Shaughnessy were broken in the next game, however, and Vesnina--serving for the match--hit a forehand down the line for match point.

After the match, Mirza said that she and Vesnina get along so well off the court that it helps them stay calm on the court. Vesnina added that she thought Mirza had the best forehand on the tour. It's a really formidable forehand, and I should add  that Vesnina is now very strong on both sides.

Both Mirza and Vesnina were models of fitness during the tournament. Mirza had to qualify for singles, and made it all the way to the quarterfinals, and Vesnina played in both finals. Both players have had issues in the past with wrist injuries, and Vesnina has had problems with her left thigh. This week, Mirza played with a slight groin/thigh injury, but persevered. She and Vesnina, having won Indian Wells, now have another impressive doubles title.

Sania Mirza's smoking forehand had a devastating effect