India’s finest women tennis star Sania Mirza ended her 18-year-long Grand Slam career with a mixed doubles final loss at the Australia Open 2023 with partner Rohan Bopanna in Melbourne on Friday (January 27). The Mirza-Bopanna pair lost in straight sets to Brazilian pair of Luisa Stefani and Rafael Matos 7-6 (2), 6-2 in the title clash.
Sania, who has already announced that she will be retiring from professional tennis after the WTA tournament in Dubai, was playing her last Grand Slam of her glorious career at the Australian Open. The former doubles world No. 1 ends her illustrious career with three mixed doubles Grand Slam titles and three women doubles titles.
The pair of Stefani and Matos became the first mixed doubles team from Brazil to win a Grand slam title. Sania, meanwhile, had won her last doubles title in 2016 – a women’s doubles crown in Australian Open.
Bopanna, who is 43 years of age, only has one Grand Slam title to his name – the 2017 French Open mixed doubles crown. “My professional career started in Melbourne… I couldn’t think of a better arena to finish my (Grand Slam) career at,” Sania Mirza said after the match, breaking down in tears.
“My professional career started in Melbourne_ I couldn’t think of a better arena to finish my [Grand Slam] career at.”
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 27, 2023
“I am still going to play in a couple of more professional tournaments. I played Serena Williams in the third round here, as an 18-year-old which was 18 years back. I have had privilege of coming back here again and again, I couldn’t think of a better place than Rod Laver Arena to finish my Grand Slam career,” she added.
After a shaky start, Sania and Bopanna won four games in a row and gave themselves an opportunity to serve for the set, but Bopanna, who is usually reliable on that shot, could not hold, giving their opponents a way back into the tie. Stefani and Matos were able to drag the opening set into a tiebreaker despite facing a set point, which they won comfortably 7-2 after Sania netted two simple overheads.
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