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Saturday, September 12, 2015

the feats of Martine Hingis .... and the colours of Bethanie Mattek Sands

Every game needs characters who add colour …. Bethanie is one.  Bethanie Lynn Mattek-Sands  is an American professional tennis player who competes on the WTA Tour. She lives in Miami, Florida, trains in Phoenix, Arizona. In doubles, she has won fifteen WTA Tour titles most notably the 2015 Australian Open and French Open 2015.  Here is her dash of  colour pronounced !

I have today posted on the little known World No. 43 Roberta Vinci doing  what many thought was impossible, taking out No. 1 Serena Williams and ending her Grand Slam quest in one of the greatest upsets, beating the American, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.  Vinci had reached a career-high singles ranking of No. 11 in 2013.  With her victory, Vinci became only the third unseeded women’s singles player in the Open era to reach the US Open final. The other two were champion Kim Clijsters (2009) and finalist Venus Williams (1997), who have combined for 11 Grand Slam titles.

This player from Switzerland is a real champion.  Partnering  formidable Czech Helena Suková, she won her first doubles Slam, in 1996, at Wimbledon, at the age of fifteen. A year later she became the youngest Slam singles champion ever, by winning the Australian Open, and soon she was the youngest top-ranked player in history. But her reign at the top of the women’s singles game proved to be  short. There were injuries (leading to two ankle surgeries), and there were powerful players pushing  her around the court. It was her doubles game that was truly something else in the late nineties—displaying her instincts for court positioning and shot anticipation, and her array of sublimely killing volleys. In 1998, with two different partners, she won the doubles Grand Slam.

It is - Martina Hingis  who spent a total of 209 weeks as world No. 1.  She has won 19 Grand Slam titles, with five singles titles (three at the Australian Open, one at Wimbledon, and one at the US Open), ten women's doubles titles, winning a calendar-year doubles Grand Slam in 1998, and four mixed doubles titles. Hingis set a series of "youngest-ever" records, including youngest Grand Slam singles champion of the 20th century and youngest-ever world No. 1 in both singles and doubles, before ligament injuries in both ankles forced her to withdraw temporarily from professional tennis in 2002 at the age of 22. After several surgeries and long recuperations, Hingis returned to the WTA tour in 2006. She then climbed to world No. 6 and won three singles titles.

Widely considered an all-time great, she was named one of the "30 Legends of Women's Tennis: Past, Present and Future" by Time in June 2011.  In July 2013, Hingis came out of retirement to play a doubles tournament, partnering Daniela Hantuchová in California, She played doubles with Sabine Lisicki, whom she also coached briefly in 2014, until Wimbledon. After that, she partnered with Flavia Pennetta and now has Sania Mirza as partner.  She has  also won three Grand Slam mixed doubles titles in 2015, partnering Leander Paes.

Today at US Open, she won again -  It was the third mixed doubles crown of the year for Paes and Hingis, who defeated Daniel Nestor and Kristina Mladenovic in the Australian Open final and beat Alexander Peya and Timea Babos in the Wimbledon title match. They are the first team since 1969 and second in the Open Era to capture three of four Majors in a calendar year.  Today, Hingis and Leander Paes beat Mattek-Sands and S Querrey 2-1. 

Infact, there was no 3rd Test – it was a tie-breaker – not the regular set.  US Open “coman tiebreak”  which is identical to the regular tiebreak procedure except that the players change ends after the first point and then after every four points, and at the conclusion of the tiebreak.  If it is for the Set Tiebreak: First to win 7 points by 2 points wins  the set.  For the Third-set Match Tiebreak: First to win 10 points by 2 points, wins match. The player whose turn it is to serve shall serve the first point from the deuce court.  After this, each player/team shall serve alternately for two consecutive points.

Getting back to the match, Indian tennis ace Leander Paes clinched his 17th Grand Slam crown by winning the US Open mixed doubles title with Swiss partner Martina Hingis.   The fourth seeded Indo-Swiss pair defeated unseeded Americans Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Sam Querrey 6-4, 3-6, 10-7 in a tricky final, which lasted for one hour and seventeen minutes on Friday. 42-year-old Paes now has nine mixed doubles title, surpassing compatriot and former doubles partner Mahesh Bhupathi, who has eight. Paes has now won 9 titles in mixed doubles.

Hingis perhaps can have one more …. No. 4 seeds Casey Dellacqua and Yaroslava Shvedova advanced to Sunday’s women’s doubles final after rallying to beat Anna Lena Groenefeld and CoCo Vandeweghe, 6-7, 7-5, 7-5, on Friday.  Top seeds Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis stayed on course for their second Grand Slam  defeating  the Italian 11th-seeded pair of Sara Errani and Flavia Pennetta 6-4 6-1 in 77 minutes.  

In these tournaments, there is no rule on the use of hair dye and and Bethanie perhaps  made full use of this omission by adding a pink streak to her blonde hair.  Bethanie is famous for adding to fashion flair to her play and has previous poked fun at the Wimbledon dress code by turning up in 2011 wearing a jacket covered in white tennis balls.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

12th Sept. 2015.

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