Sania Mirza bids adieu to tennis with first round loss at Dubai Tennis Championships 2023

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Sania Mirza's farewell event, the Dubai Tennis Championships 2023, began on Tuesday, but there was no happy ending in store for her. She along with her women's doubles partner Madison Keys, lost 6-4, 6-0 Veronika Kudermetova and Liudmila Samsonova in the opening round of the championship.

“I guess (the retirement) is sinking in a little bit,” Sania Mirza said after the match. “I am sure I will have a cry tomorrow morning. But the good part about taking a decision on your own terms is that you are very happy with what you are doing. It is very important to believe. I feel very grateful and satisfied with that."

“I stopped because I wanted to stop… it’s time for different things. My priorities are different now. It’s been a long career,” added Sania, who made her professional tennis debut on the senior circuit in 2001. “I am just looking forward to the next stage of my life.”

At the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, the Indian tennis player and her American women's doubles partner Madison Keys were defeated 6-4, 6-0 by Veronika Kudermetova and Liudmila Samsonova in the opening round.

The first set ended in a 3-3 draw between the two teams after a tight opening to the game. The Kudermetova-Samsonova team broke Sania's serve first in the seventh game, but the Indo-American team quickly answered with their own break in the eighth.

Nevertheless, the No. 23 singles player in the world, Keys, was unable to maintain his service in the ninth game, and the Kudermetova-Samsonova combo did it in the tenth to take a 1-0 lead.

Veronika Kudermetova and Liudmila Samsonova blanked Sania and Keys in the second set to win the match in just over an hour. Sania Mirza will retire as the greatest women's tennis player in the history of India, despite the lacklustre conclusion to her career.

Six-time Grand Slam champion Sania Mirza has won 44 WTA championships during her career, just one of them was in singles. Her most recent doubles victory was alongside Zhang Shuai of China at the Ostrava Open2021 in the Czech Republic.

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