‘I’m 36, he’s 42 and we’re still playing’: Sania Mirza reaches Australian Open Mixed Doubles final with Rohan Bopanna

Playing the final Grand Slam tournament of her career, Sania Mirza got the chance to win her seventh major title by reaching the Australian Open mixed doubles final with compatriot Rohan Bopanna in Melbourne on Wednesday. The unseeded Indian pair knocked out third seeds Desirae Krawczyk and Neal Skupski 7-6(5) 6-7(5) 10-6 in the semi-final which lasted one hour and 52 minutes. After splitting a set apiece, the Indians raced to a commanding lead in the Super Tie-breaker. Sania found a stunning backhand winner to earn three match points and sealed the contest with a drive volley that Krawczyk could not return.

“It was a great match, there were a lot of nerves. It’s my last slam and it’s so special to play with Rohan. He was my first mixed doubles partner when I was 14 and today I’m 36 , and he is 42 and we are still playing, we have a solid relationship,” Sania said after the match.

Sania has announced that the WTA event in Dubai in February will be her swan song.

“We’re excited to get back here and give ourselves another chance. We played the best mixed doubles pair on the Tour and had to find the best,” she said of the rival players from the United States and England.

“I’m not a crier but I’m almost there now, I feel the love of the last 18 years I’ve been coming here. It feels like home to me, I have a family here, I eat at home and I have so many Indians who support me,” said Sania, who won her first Grand Slam title at the 2009 Australian Open, where she shared the title with compatriot Mahesh Bhupathi.

She later won the women’s doubles title at Melbourne Park in 2016 with Swiss great Martina Hingis.

The 42-year-old Bopanna, who won her only major title at the French Open and won the mixed doubles with Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski, said it was crucial to seize the momentum in the tie break.

“As Sania mentioned, it was a tough team we played against. It’s not easy to keep the momentum going after losing the second set, but we stayed strong and got an early lead and gave us that momentum,” he said .

“Really happy to share the court with Sania. (It’s an) incredible journey that inspires everyone back home and today so many fans here.

“One more to go. It would be an absolute dream (Sania to win the title). It can’t get better than that. It’s going to be special and we need it in India. Keep inspiring everyone out there, that’s the only way to keep it going.” Out of Sania’s six Grand Slams titles, three are mixed doubles trophies which she won with Mahesh Bhupathi (2009 Australian Open, 2012 French Open) and Brazilian Bruno Soares (2014 US Open).

All three women’s doubles titles came with Swiss great Martina Hingis. (Wimbledon 2015, US Open 2015 and Australian Open 2016).

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)

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