- Hingis to return to WTA Finals for seventh time in Hall of Fame career, while Mirza set to defend title with new partner
- Hingis/Mirza are first of eight doubles teams to qualify and will join world No.1 Serena Williams in Singapore, who secured her place in the singles competition during Wimbledon
The Hingis/Mirza partnership began in March of this year and achieved instant success, winning 14-straight matches en route to three successive titles – the BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells), Miami Open presented by Itau, and Family Circle Cup (Charleston). These results, in addition to the Wimbledon crown, propelled Mirza to the top of the WTA doubles rankings – the first Indian woman to reach No.1 – and have seen Hingis reach a high of world No.2 following her comeback to tennis. Between them, they have 72 career doubles titles – Hingis boasting 45 career doubles titles and Mirza with 27.
Qualifying as a team for the first time, both players have enjoyed success at the WTA Finals. Mirza will return to Singapore as defending champion, having won the doubles title with Cara Black in 2014. Hingis, meanwhile, has also enjoyed success at the WTA Finals as a two-time singles champion (1998, 2000) and two-time doubles champion (1999 and 2000, both w/Anna Kournikova). Hingis previously participated in the WTA Finals six times, competing in both singles and doubles from 1996-2000, while also qualifying for the season-finale in 2006 in singles. Mirza is the fifth different partner Hingis will compete with at the WTA Finals having also qualified with Helena Sukova (1996), Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario (1997), Jana Novotna (1998) and Kournikova (1999, 2000).
“It is truly a remarkable accomplishment for Sania and Martina to have earned qualification for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global so soon after beginning their partnership,” said Stacey Allaster, WTA Chairman and CEO. “I know the fans in Singapore will be very excited to see Sania return as defending champion and welcome Martina back to the WTA Finals for the first time in nine years. With the Road to Singapore Leaderboard now taking shape, it will be an exciting next few months ahead.”
Mirza said she was excited to be returning as defending champion: “For me as an Asian player it’s really exciting to be playing in Singapore. The crowd that supports us is incredible and there’s a great atmosphere at the event. Qualifying for the WTA Finals after winning Wimbledon couldn’t be any more perfect. Martina and I have had some incredible results this season and I’ll do whatever I can to defend my title.”
Hingis added: “Qualifying for the WTA Finals again is a dream come true. When I stopped playing in 2007, I never dreamed of coming back – but returning and now playing for the year-end doubles title is way above my expectations. Since I started playing with Sania it’s been a joy – we always keep fighting and we motivate each other. And now after winning our first Grand Slam on grass, we’re just both so happy.”
Among her notable achievements, Mirza was the first Indian woman to reach the world No.1 doubles ranking; the first to win a WTA singles title; the first to reach the third and fourth rounds of a Grand Slam; the first to surpass $1 million in career prize money; and the first to win a Grand Slam title of any kind when she claimed the 2009 Australian Open mixed doubles title with countryman Mahesh Bhupathi. She has since added two more mixed doubles titles - 2012 Roland Garros (w/Bhupathi) and 2014 US Open (w/Soares) – in addition to the 2015 Wimbledon doubles title (w/Hingis).
Hingis has also enjoyed a glittering career, winning five Grand Slam singles titles among her 43 career singles titles; 10 Grand Slam doubles titles among her 45 doubles titles; and three Grand Slam mixed doubles titles, most recently 2015 Wimbledon (w/Paes). She is one of only six women to have been ranked world No.1 simultaneously in both singles and doubles and achieved a calendar doubles Grand Slam in 1998. The Swiss is also the youngest Grand Slam singles champion of the Open Era (capturing the 1997 Australian Open at 16 years, four months) and is the youngest singles world No.1 of the 20th century, at 16 years, six months.
Wednesday, July 15 will mark the start of the 100-day countdown until the BNP Paribas WTA Finals. Here is the current Road to Singapore Singles Leaderboard (as of Monday, July 13):
Last year, new milestones were set at the WTA Finals with record highs for attendance, TV viewing and online audiences as fans from around the world traveled to Singapore and tuned in to the exciting 10-day sport entertainment extravaganza showcasing the world’s best female athletes. The event attracted 129,000 spectators, including 93,000 fans who attended matches at the Singapore Sports Hub, through the 10 days of on- and off-court sport and entertainment in the stadium, as well as the fan festival which offered free access to the public.
In 2015, fans and spectators of the WTA Finals can expect the WTA to amplify engagement efforts by building a deeper connection with the fan base, delivering richer, more compelling digital content and creating money-can’t-buy experiences – all in an effort to become the most fan-friendly sport entertainment experience on earth.
Tickets for the general public start at S$16.90 and can be purchased through Sports Hub Tix www.sportshub.com.sg/WTAFinals, the official ticketing partner of the 2015 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global. Log on to the WTA Finals website www.WTAFinals.com for more information and follow on Twitter (@WTAFinalsSG) and Facebook (facebook.com/WTAFinalsSG).
Follow the link to watch Martina and Sania’s Road to Singapore: http://www.wtafinals.com/article/hingis--mirza-qualify-for-singapore/4862820