Sania-Martina win WTA Finals opener

Singapore, Oct 27 (IANS) Top tennis combine of Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis got off to a winning start at the year-ending $7 million WTA Finals, being played on the hard courts of the Singapore Indoor Stadium here.

The Indo-Swiss pair took just an hour and 15 minutes to defeat American sixth seeds Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears 6-4, 6-2 in the red group of the round robin league format on Monday.

Sania, who won the prestigious tournament last year with Zimbabwean Cara Black, and Martina broke the American combination once in the first set, which was enough for them to take the lead in the match.

The top seeds, who are also individually the two highest ranked players in the world, not just saved six breakpoint opportunities the Americans had earned, they also broke Raquel and Abigail twice to seal the second set and the tie.

The Indo-Swiss pair will next take on Czech seventh seeds Andrea Hlavácková and Lucie Hradecká in the second match of the round robin.

The WTA Finals is an annual event played by the top-8 players/pairs of the year who are divided into two round robin groups — red and white. The top-2 of each group progress to the semifinals and the following winners to the finals.

The championship is generally considered the fifth most prestigious event on the women’s tour after the four Grand Slam tournaments. It also has the largest prize money and ranking points after the Grand Slams.

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