Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis defeated seventh seeded Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina 6-1, 6-7, 10-3 in the final of the Rome Masters on Sunday to lift their 14th WTA title since joining forces last year. This is the fourth time the Indo-Swiss pair have defeated this Russian pair in a final.
The World No.1 pair have not been at their best in the past couple of months, since winning the inaugural St. Petersburg Ladies' Trophy on Valentine's Day. The end of the 41-match unbeaten run at the Dubai Open triggered a lean patch, which saw them exit early at the Miami Open and the Indian Wells. The duo did show signs of returning to form with two final appearances in a row—at Stuttgart and then at Madrid—but they were failing to cross the final hurdle.
However, the pair had a psychological edge over their opponents in the final at Rome. Mirza and Hingis had faced Makarova and Vesnina in three finals last year—including the one at Indian Wells, Hingis and Mirza's first tournament as a pair, and the Wimbledon women's doubles final. On all three occasions, Mirza and Hingis came out on the top, and they threatened to do so from the very beginning on Sunday.
The Indo-Swiss pair came out quickly off the block and even before their Russian opponents could grasp what had hit them, Mirza and Hingis won the first set 6-1. 'SanTina' broke their opponent twice in that set as Makarova and Vesnina struggled to keep their first serves in play.
The second set was a much tighter affair with Makarova and Vesnina getting their serve back on track.They recovered from the early service break Mirza and Hingis had in the set, as they gained their footing in the match for the first time. Makarova-Vesnina were trailing 2-4 at one point in the second set, however, they fought back to take a 6-5 lead.
In the tie-break for the second set, the Russian pair raced to a 4-0 lead before winning it 7-5 and bring the match back to parity at one set each. However, the World No.1 pair raised their game once again in the third set tie-break and won it comfortably 10-3.
This win will do wonders to the confidence of Mirza and Hingis as they head into the French Open and look to complete the 'SanTina Slam'.
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