March 15: Their fairytale partnership began last year at Indian Wells, with Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis going on to achieve an unprecedented level of success with 41 straight wins. Unfortunately, the duo failed to rekindle the magic and defend their US hardcourt title.
The world No 1 Indo-Swiss pair suffered a shock upset in the second round by unseeded duo Vania King and Alla Kudryavtseva 6-7 (7), 4-6 at Indian Wells on Sunday. Sania and Martina’s unbeaten streak, which began last August, ended at 41 straight wins with a loss at the Qatar Open last month.
King and Kudryavtseva are playing just their second tournament of 2016. King, who sat out much of 2015 with a back injury, had made the Australian Open quarterfinals in January. After edging past the top seeds in a tie-break in the first set, the American-Russian pair raced to a 5-2 lead in the second. They handed ‘SanTina’ their first straight-sets defeat since the summer of 2015.
“We had a game plan and I feel like we executed it really well,” King said after the match. “We tried to take control of the points and not let them dictate the match, and I think we did that really well. That’s why we won.” King had won two consecutive Grand Slams – Wimbledon and US Open — in 2010 with Yaroslava Shvedova.
Having decided to pair up at the end of last season, Kudryavtseva has mentioned that they are looking to qualify for the year-ender in Singapore. Both she and King have qualified for the WTA Finals before but never as a team.