ZIMBABWE women’s doubles tennis queen Cara Black and Indian Sania Mirza’s wait for their first title of the season came to an end on Saturday when they defeated Eva Hrdinova and Valeria Solovyeva in the final of the Portugal Open.
After a silverware-laden start to their partnership, Black and Mirza have found success harder to come by in their second season, suffering a number of near-misses, most recently in Stuttgart, where they lost out to Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci in the final. So when they fell a break behind midway the opening set against the unseeded Hrdinova and Solovyeva, they could have been forgiven for fearing the worst.
However, they were not behind for long, breaking back immediately before taking the set and with it control of the match.
With victory now in sight, the top seeds continued to press and were rewarded with a break in the penultimate game to wrap up a 6-4, 6-3 win.
“We’re really happy. We got to the final in Stuttgart last week and now a win here so it’s a good start on the clay for us,” Black said in an interview with the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) website.
Success in Portugal also keeps Black and Mirza on course for the WTA Championships, pushing them up to number three on the WTA season ending Road To Singapore.
The victory was also a huge confidence booster for the pair ahead of the year’s second tennis Grand Slam, the French Open set for May 25 to June 8.
“I think if you perform consistently, that kind of takes care of itself,” Mirza said. “Of course the goal is to try and get there, eventually, but at the moment we’re just trying to keep improving and to play our best.”
Meanwhile, promising tennis player Derick Namaya lifted the Zimbabwe Junior Closed Tennis title in the boys’ U-18 category after the top seed, Luca Picci retired from the final match due to an injury at Harare Sports Club on Friday.
The Under-18 girls’ title was won by Tariro Dembo who won all her four matches in a round-robin which featured five other players.