As Sania Mirza bade farewell to her last Grand Slam after a defeat in the mixed doubles final on Friday, wishes poured in from all corners of the world. Sania’s husband Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Malik was also one of them, whose post on Twitter read, “You are the much needed hope for all the women in sports. Super proud of you for all you have achieved in your career. You’re an inspiration for many, keep going strong. Many congratulations on an unbelievable career…”
The couple got married in 2010 and have a son named him Izhaan Mirza Malik.
On Friday, in the final Grand Slam event of her career, Sania, alongside compatriot Rohan Bopanna, narrowly missed out on the title. The duo, vying for their first Major together, were defeated 6-7 (2), 2-6 by Brazilians Luisa Stefani and Rafael Matos in the final.
– You are the much needed hope for all the women in sports. Super proud of you for all you have achieved in your career. You’re an inspiration for many, keep going strong. Many congratulations on an unbelievable career… pic.twitter.com/N6ziDeUGmV
— Shoaib Malik 🇵🇰 (@realshoaibmalik) January 27, 2023
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.
From thereon, the Brazilian pair began to grow in confidence and knew the match would be on their racquets if they held serve. 2-1 up on Sania’s serve, they took their chances by preying on her second serves, and Matos played the point of the match to get the break exchanging blows with Sania from the back of the court before hitting a backhand down the line which Bopanna volleyed out. They would eventually win three of the next four games, and win the match on Sania’s next service game.
It was the 11th Grand Slam final of Sania’s storied career, in which she has won 43 doubles titles – including six Grand Slams – and spent 91 weeks as the World No. 1 women’s doubles career.