Sania rises on popularity chart

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:50 IST

The year 2005 will go down as a watershed year in the history of Indian tennis as teenage prodigy Sania Mirza burst on the scene.

Sania rises on popularity chart

New Delhi:

The year 2005 will go down as a watershed year in the history of Indian tennis as teenage prodigy Sania Mirza burst on the scene and injected fresh blood into a sagging sport. Sania single-handedly achieved what the past and current men's champions had not been able to for decades - make tennis a popular game and make a dent in cricket's supremacy as the number one sport in India. Also, her powerful groundstrokes caught the tennis world's attention. The 19-year-old recorded many firsts by an Indian in women's tennis while proving herself to be a genuine world beater. A leap of 175 places to reach a career high 31 in world rankings, a seniors' title, victory over two top-10 players and reaching the fourth round of a Grand Slam - a spectacular start to what should be a long and colourful career. Sania's rise began with a default wild card into the Australian Open main draw in January. She grabbed the opportunity by advancing to the third round where she put up a gallant effort while going down to former world number one and Grand Slam champion Serena Williams. It was the first time an Indian woman had gone thus far at a Grand Slam and she bettered that mark at the US Open, going one step further later in the year. Her maiden WTA title came the following month when she braved an ankle injury and a double replay of match point to win the USD 140,000 Hyderabad Open before an adulatory home crowd. This triumph also saw her break into the top-100. (PTI)

Topics : Tennis Sania Mirza
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