Sania Mirza has no qualms in admitting that she and Horia Tecau were “outplayed” in the Australian Open mixed doubles final on Sunday but said she had a great tournament as she lost only to best teams in her two events.
Playing against an unseeded but a very formidable combination of Kristina Mladenovic and veteran Daniel Nestor, the Indian and her Romanian partner ended runners-up after losing the final 3—6, 2—6 in under an hour.
Krsitina and Mladenovic have been consistently in red-hot form and it was their second Grand Slam together, having won Wimbledon mixed doubles last year.
“We played the final against a team which had played four finals in the last four Grand Slams. They played very well, we could not do anything but we are happy we had a good tournament, made the finals of the first Grand Slam of the season,” Sania, who has won two Grand Slam titles, told PTI from Melbourne.
Sania said Kristina’s blistering returns made a big impact on the match.
“At 3—3, Mladenovic came up with two really big shots.. that kind of set the tone...until then it was even, she hit those big returns after that the momentum swung a bit. They outplayed us really. We tried to do what we could but we should have taken our two or three chances but they had a great match,” Sania said, explaining the rout.
Asked if they could have done something different, especially if her serve was better, Sania said, “I was getting the first serve in but she was returning very well. That’s it.”
It was Sania’s fourth mixed doubles Grand Slam final appearance and second runners-up finish at Melbourne Park.
So, considering the tough opponents, is she happy with the end result?
“No, I would love to win it but finishing finals in first Grand Slam of the season is not bad either,” was her curt reply.
Playing in the women’s doubles, Sania and her Zimbabwean partner Cara Black lost their quarterfinal match to eventual champions Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci from Italy.
Sania said overall she was happy with the way she played with both Cara and Tecau.
“For me, mixed doubles was a great tournament. In the women’s doubles we lost to world number one team, who also won the tournament, so we lost to the best teams. All in all, it was good, we played well. Hopefully we can win the next Grand Slam,” she said.
Sania and Cara had began the partnership last year towards the end by winning back-to-back titles in China and Japan. This year though they crashed out in the very first round in their season-opener in Sydney.
“We are playing well, hopefully we will improve as the year goes.”
Sania also revealed that she has extended her partnership with Tecau for the next Grand Slam as well.
“We are playing French Open together, we will see after that,” she signed off.