By Syed Arhm Ahmad/Doha
Crowd favourite Sania Mirza of India and her doubles partner Caroline Garcia of France were ousted in the doubles first round of the Qatar Total Open at Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex yesterday.
The Turkish-German wildcard pairing of Cagla Buyukakcay and Laura Siegemund picked up a straight sets 6-4, 7-5 victory in a 1 hour and 26 minute first round encounter.
Played in front of a packed crowd on Court 5, the fans were treated to a see-saw contest which provided numerous entertaining rallies. The Indo-French pair started the match strong, breaking in the very first game of the match, courtesy of a missed volley from Siegemund. The pair stayed up a break for the majority of the first set until the 8th game when Buyukakcay and Siegemund broke back as Garcia made an unforced backhand volley error.
This crucial break changed the momentum of the set and the match, prompting Mirza and Garcia to ask to see their coach at the 4-5 changeover. Mirza and Garcia managed to save a set point, but a powerful Buyukakcay forehand winner on the deciding point settled the matters in the first set.
Mirza and Garcia once again started the second set well, breaking in the very first game courtesy of a blistering forehand cross-court winner from Garcia. They further pressed their advantage by breaking again in the third game to open up a 3-0 lead. Buyukakcay and Siegemund would, however, once again mount a spirited fightback and break back twice with some inspired play.
Garcia and Mirza would save a match point in the 10th game, serving to stay in the set and equalise the set at 5-5. Mirza, however, succumbed to the return game pressure of Buyukakcay and Siegemund when she was serving to stay in the match at 5-6, and the Turkish-German pairing converted on their second match point to seal the match.
In the other doubles first round matches of the day, the star-studded pairing featuring two top players — Swiss Belinda Bencic and American Sofia Kenin — beat the eight seed pairing of singles world number 1 Ashleigh Barty of Australia and Demi Schuurs of the Netherlands 6-4, 7-6.
Lucie Hradecka from Czech Republic and Andreja Klepac from Slovenia took out the Chinese pairing of Shuai Zhang and Saisai Zheng 3-6, 6-3, 10-7.
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