The expectations around India’s Sania Mirza pairing with Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur at the Cincinnati Masters raised the expectations - but the duo were knocked out of the opening round of women’s doubles on Wednesday.
Mirza, a multiple grand slam winner in women’s and mixed doubles, and Jabeur - lost to Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova and Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina 5-7, 2-6 in an hour and five minutes. Veronika-Elena will play fourth seed Nicole Melichar of the USA and Demi Schuurs of the Netherlands in the second round.
Mirza’s exit brings the Indian challenge at the Cincinnati Masters to an end as on On Tuesday, Rohan Bopanna and his Croatian partner Ivan Dodig lost their men’s doubles opening round match.
Mirza-Jabeur were broken in the ninth game of the first set but bounced back in the next to even the score at 5-5. Veronika-Elena, though, broke Sania-Ons again in the eleventh game before settling the set 7-5.
In the second set, Sania-Ons were broken in the fifth and the seventh game as the Russian-Kazakh pair raced to win 6-2, and with it, wrapped up the match.
The Cincinnati Masters, also known as The Western and Southern Open, was Sania’s first event after her first round exit at the Tokyo Olympics where the 34-year-old paired with Ankita Raina. The Indian, who was part of a former world No.1 pair along with Martina Hingis, is on a comeback trail on the Tour after motherhood.