Indian tennis star Leander Paes and his Swiss partner Martina Hingis were crowned as the French Open mixed doubles champions 2016 on Friday. Leander Paes-Martina Hingis pair beat India-Croatian duo of Sania Mirza and Ivan Dodig after the match went to a championship tie-break at the Philippe-Chatrier court. The unseeded Indo-Swiss pair eked out a 4-6, 6-4, 10-8 win over the second seeds in the summit clash that lasted one hour and 28 minutes.
It was the 10th mixed doubles title at a major for India’s Leander Paes, the fifth for Switzerland’s Martina Hingis. Paes also has eight grand slam men’s doubles trophies, while Hingis, a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, has five in singles and 12 in women’s doubles. Heading into Roland Garros, she had won three majors in a row with Sania Mirza as her doubles partner, but they lost in the third round in Paris.
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The opening set was on serve till the ninth game. Leander Paes was serving to stay in the set and was broken. The chance came the second seeds’ way when Hingis failed to put a ball back on court on return of Dodig. On the deciding deduce point, Sania hit a forehand winner past Hingis to seal the set. Paes created a chance on Sania’s serve in the third game of the second set. He pounced on a volley and beat the ball hard beyond return. Sania and Dodig saved two break chances but the Croat buried the ball on the deciding point to hand the rivals an early break.
The match tiebreak that would decide the title took a rollercoaster route. First Mirza and Dodig took a 3-1 lead but Paes and Hingis slowly fought back with some authoritative tennis to level it back at 5-5 and then led 7-5 at the change of ends. At one point Paes hit a trademark forehand volley winner started on the crowd as they led 8-6. Two points from the title. Mirza and Dodig fought back to 8-8. Hingis then hit a backhand pass to reach championship point and then Leander Paes and Martina Hingis closed out the win on a forehand error from Dodig.
Leander Paes-Martina Hingis complete career slam with win over Sania Mirza-Ivan Dodig in French Open mixed doubles final.
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