Sania Mirza to face Kalashnikova and Miyu on her first return to court

It will be the 33-year-old Indian’s first competitive match since October 2017.

By Olympic Channel Writer ·

Veteran Indian tennis star Sania Mirza now knows who she will face on her return to action at the Hobart International in Australia.

Mirza, along with her Ukrainian partner Nadiia Kichenok, have been drawn against Georgia’s Oksana Kalashnikova and Japan’s Miyu Kato in the opening round.

A win against the Georgia-Japanese duo on Monday might see Sania Mirza and Kichenok facing the celebrated Spanish duo of Georgina Garcia Perez and Sara Sorribes Tormo in the quarter-finals stage of the tournament in Australia.

Seeded fourth in the $275,000 tournament, the Spanish women’s doubles duo had reached as many as three WTA tour finals in the 2019 season and managed to win two of them. They are up against USA’s Vania King and Christina McHale in their opening round clash.

Sania Mirza’s second innings

The 33-year-old is returning to the court after a two-year break from the game, which started late in 2017 following a knee injury after the China Open. It was followed by Sania Mirza’s pregnancy with Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Malik as she gave birth to baby boy Izhaan in 2018.

With the Olympics in line later in the year, Sania Mirza has been included in India’s Fed Cup squad that is scheduled to take place in China’s Dongguan Tennis Centre in February.

Sania Mirza has been India’s most successful women’s tennis player till date, winning six Grand Slam titles, which include a women’s double Wimbledon title in 2015 when she paired up with Swiss tennis star Martina Hingis.

A regular representative for India at the Olympics, Sania Mirza has played all the last three Games – Beijing (2008), London (2012) and Rio (2016) – and came agonizingly close to winning a bronze medal last time.

Partnering Rohan Bopanna

Sania Mirza will be paring alongside old partner Rohan Bopanna at the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the year, after her previously decided partner Rajeev Ram pulled out of the tournament.

This will also be the first time Mirza will be playing alongside Rohan Bopanna since their fourth-place finish at the 2016 Olympics.