Sania Mirza made history in the American harbour city of Charleston late on Sunday, becoming the first Indian woman to claim the world No 1 position in the individual doubles ranking. The big-hitting 28-year-old, who altered her schedule to chase the top-spot in the WTA rankings, was all smiles following the emotional triumph.
Sania, achieved the feat playing alongside her Swiss partner Martina Hingis, the duo combining to win the title in the Family Circle Club, a WTA Premier event played on green clay. They beat Aussie Casey Dellacqua and Croatia's Darja Jurak 6-0, 6-4 in 58 minutes in the title round.
Earlier in the week, the champions climbed to the no1 position as a team, making it a grand double for the outfit that is unbeaten since they came together three weeks ago, winning titles in Indian Wells and Miami on hard courts, before emerging victorious on clay this week.
While Sania displaced the joint-No 1s Italians Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci to claim sole ownership of the top spot of the individual rankings, the Indo-Swiss combine moved from No 3 at the start of the week, to No 1 after their quarter final win on Friday, replacing Russians Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina on the Road to Singapore Doubles leader board.
The champion combine, who won all their previous rounds in Charleston in the special-tie-break, took home $39,000 and 470 points. Hingis and Sania are now 14-0 together, 5-0 to win Indian Wells, 5-0 to win Miami and 4-0 in their latest run.
They were 200 in sets after their first two tournaments, but took their time adjusting to the surface in Charleston, where they were tested. "One of our best qualities as a pair is that no matter how we're playing, we keep fighting," Sania said. "We've had matches where we haven't played our best, and we still come out winning, and that really helps. We keep trying and we keep believing in our abilities."
Sania and the 34-year-old Hingis were off the blocks quickly in the final, charging to a 5-0 lead in 18 minutes, then wrapping up the first set in 23 minutes. Broken in the opening game of the second set, the top-seeds pulled right back winning the next four games. They took a 5-2 lead before the Aussie-Croat duo won the next two games, breaking the fancied pair when they served for the match in the ninth game. They then closed on their second match-point of the game in just under an hour.