French Open 2016 | Paes-Hingis get the better of Mirza-Dodig in final to clinch Roland Garros

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French Open 2016 | Paes-Hingis get the better of Mirza-Dodig in final to clinch Roland Garros

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Saketh RVK

06/04/2016

Martina Hingis and Leander Paes beat Sania Mirza and Ivan Dodig 4-6, 6-4, 10-8 to win the mixed doubles title at the 2016 French Open. This is the pair’s 4th Grand Slam title together and they have now won all Grand Slams on offer as a pairing. Leander Paes also completed his 2nd Career Grand Slam.

Both the pairs entered a nearly empty Philippe-Chatrier court with high stakes on their mind. Mirza and Dodig were looking to justify their second seeding with the Indian looking to win her first mixed doubles Grand Slam title since 2014. Hingis-Paes were looking for a piece of history too - to win all 4 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles together. Neither seemed willing to relent, and both the teams held their serve till 4-4. 

Dodig, who was clearly exhausted from his men’s doubles match loss earlier in the day, summoned up his reserves to blast some huge serves. He was clearly going for the broke, double faulting twice in the process. Paes-Hingis were upto the challenge though, with their forecourt defense clearly the better of the two pairs. Sania-Dodig managed to hold serve and take a 5-4 lead. Right when the set seemed to be heading for a tie-breaker, Sania Mirza put a forehand past Hingis to seal the set 6-4.

The Indo-Swiss pair upped the ante in the second set, with Leander Paes the live wire, seeming to be everywhere on court. He matched Dodig’s aggression at the net with some deft touches, gliding the ball to win crucial points. Hingis-Paes broke serve to go 3-1 up in the second set, but Mirza and Dodig fought back and broke the experienced pair to restore parity at 3-3. Hingis-Paes didn’t step off the pedal though and broke again to win the set 6-4, sending the match into a 3rd set tie-breaker.

The tie-breaker was closely fought. Mirza/Dodig took an early lead at 3-1, but Paes-Hingis clawed back to level at 3-3. A see-saw battle saw the score reach 5-5, before some great co-ordination and attacking play from Paes-Hingis gave them a 7-5 lead. A couple of points later, at 8-6, Paes-Hingis seemed the clear favourites to run away with the title. But the No.2 seeds wouldn’t let go so easily, and Saina stepped up her game to make the score 8-8. The Paes-Hingis pairing though had seen enough tough situations. They held their nerve to win the tie-breaker 10-8 and clinch the Championship.

Emotional scenes followed as Leander Paes completed his second Career Grand Slam, this time in the mixed doubles. For Martina Hingis, this was her 22 Grand Slam victory, placing her alongside some of the greatest players of the game.

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