Sania Mirza’s first tournament in more than a year ended with a semifinal defeat as she was ousted from the Qatar Total Open along with her partner Andreja Klepac on Thursday.
Sania and her Slovenian partner lost 5-7 6-2 5-10 to America’s Nicole Melichar and Dutch player Demi Schuurs in one hour and 28 minutes.
Sania Mirza says Tokyo Olympics medal dream motivated her return
Playing against players, who are ranked 11 and 12 in the world was tough but it was a decent outing for Sania, who recovered from COVID-19 recently, and her partner.
It was the first tournament for the Indian since last February.
Sania and Klepac split USD 10000 and earned 185 ranking points each. Since Sania was not defending many points, it will help her improve her ranking.
Sania will break back into top-200 and is expected to climb to the 177th spot from the current 254.
Mirza a regular in Nigeria at some point where she participated in the now defunct Ogbe Hard Court and Heineken Futures among others .
Mirza is an offensive baseliner with very powerful groundstroke and is known for setting up good attacks with the sheer velocity of her ground strokes. Her main strength is her forehand, as well as her volleying skills
Sania revealed that her main reason for bouncing back is to participate at the next Olympics in Tokyo.
Sania was agonizingly close to finishing on the podium in Rio, playing alongside Rohan Bopanna, and she’s hoping to change that in Tokyo should she get another tilt at what would be her fourth Games.
“We came really, really close to winning that medal last time. We lost the bronze medal match,” she said. “When I close this chapter of my life, I feel like an Olympic medal is something that I would’ve loved to win. I want to give myself another shot. It was one of the motivations for me to come back.”really, really close to winning that medal last time.