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Why Mirza and Hingis did NOT break the world record

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Why Mirza and Hingis did NOT break the world record

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Arun S Kaimal


“World record by Sania-Martina as they win 29th match on trot”, “With 29th consecutive win, Sania Mirza-Martina Hingis break world record”, “Sania Mirza, Martina Hingis create world record for most successive victories” - these are some of headlines published today.

When Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis defeated the Chinese pair Chen Liang and Shuai Peng 6-2, 6-3 in the quarter-final of the International Sydney Tennis tournament, they extended their winning streak to 28 matches.

The Indo-Swiss pair was lauded on equaling the world record of most number of consecutive wins set by Gigi Fernandez and Natasha Zvereva back in 1994.

Earlier today, Mirza and Hingis came from behind to win their 29th match in a row 4-6, 6-3, 10-8, against Raluca Olaru and Yaroslava Shvedova. Once again, the duo has been praised for finally breaking a 22-year-old record.

Truth is, the record never really belonged to the American-Belarusian pair. It was set almost ten years before them.

The record for the longest undefeated streak in women's doubles is held by the legendary pair of Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver. The duo won 109 matches in a row, in what has remained an unrivaled period of dominance, over a period of two years between 1983-85.

The American pair won all the four Grand Slams, and went to to amass an all-time record of 79 titles together. While Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis have dominated the women's doubles circuit in the past one year, they are still a long way off from matching Navratilova and Shriver's feat.

One can draw a lot of parallels between these two pairs though. Both the Martinas were born in Czechoslovakia, and both born in a family of former tennis players. Incredibly, both their parents were divorced at an early age, and both these ladies migrated to different countries – United States and Switzerland respectively. Both former World No.1s also returned, successfully one might add, to play doubles towards the fag end of their careers, after a long haitus from the game.

Navratilova's partner Pam Shriver was a doubles specialist, much like Sania Mirza is now. Like Shriver, Mirza's strength was her forehand, while her backhand often let her down.

We certainly hope that 'SanTina' go on to achieve the record eventually, which will be an astounding accomplishment, specially considering how competitive women's tennis is currently. (Read: Has India's success in Doubles tennis destroyed its Singles hopes?)

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