Sania Mirza (Urdu: سانیا مِرزا; born 15 November 1986), is an Indian
tennis player. She started her tennis career in 2003, and is currently one of
the high ranked players in India. In 2004 she was awarded the prestigious Arjuna
award by the Indian government.
Sania was born to a sports journalist, Imran Sania and her mother Nasima in Mumbai. She was brought up in Hyderabad in a devout Muslim family. Sania began playing tennis at the age of six, turning professional in 2003. She was trained by her father, as well as her other family members. She went to Nasr school in Hyderabad and later graduated from St. Mary's College.
In April 2003, Sania made her debut in the India Fed Cup team, winning all three singles matches. Sania won the 2003 Wimbledon Championships Girls' Doubles title, teaming up with Alisa Kleybanova of Russia.
Sania is the highest ranked female tennis player ever from India, with a career high ranking of 27 in singles and 18 in doubles. She holds the distinction of being the first Indian woman to be seeded in a Grand Slam tennis tournament. Earlier in 2005, she had become the first Indian woman to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament at the 2005 U.S. Open, defeating Mashona Washington, Maria Elena Camerin and Marion Bartoli. In 2004, she finished runner-up at the Asian Tennis Championship. In winning, with Mahesh Bhupathi, the Mixed Doubles event at the 2009 Australian Open, she became the first Indian woman to win any grand slam event.
In 2005, Sania reached the third round of the Australian Open, losing to eventual champion Serena Williams. On February 12, 2005, she became the first Indian woman to win a WTA singles title, defeating Alyona Bondarenko of Ukraine in the Hyderabad Open Finals. As of September 2006, Sania has notched up three top 10 wins; against Svetlana Kuznetsova, Nadia Petrova and Martina Hingis. At the 2006 Doha Asian Games, Sania won the silver in the women's singles category and the gold in the mixed doubles partnering Leander Paes. She was also part of the Indian women's team that won the silver in the team event.
In 2006, Sania was awarded a Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian honour for her contribution to Tennis.
Sania had the best results of her career during the 2007 summer hardcourt season, finishing eighth in the 2007 U.S. Open Series standings. She reached the final of the Bank of the West Classic and won the doubles event with Shahar Pe'er, and reached the quarterfinals of the Tier 1 Acura Classic.
At the 2007 U.S. Open, she reached the third round before losing to Anna Chakvetadze for the third time in recent weeks. She fared much better in the doubles, reaching the quarterfinals in mixed with her partner Mahesh Bhupathi and the quarterfinals in the women's doubles with Bethanie Mattek, including a win over number two seeds Lisa Raymond and Samantha Stosur.
Sania Mirza represented India at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, in the women's singles and doubles events. In singles, she retired in the round of 64, while she was trailing 1-6, 1-2 against Iveta Benešová of Czech Republic. She teamed up with Sunitha Rao for the doubles event. They got a walk-over in the round of 32, but lost to Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova and Dinara Safina by 4-6, 4-6, in the round of 16.
Sania received an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from MGR Educational and Research Institute University in Chennai on 2008-12-11. Sania Mirza's niece, Sonia Baig Mirza, studies there.
Sania reached the quarter-finals at Hobart as No.6 seed, where she lost to Flavia Pennetta in three sets. She reached the third round at the Australian Open as No.31 seed, where she lost to No.8 seed Venus Williams 7-6(0) 6-4, having led 5-3 in the first set. She was runner-up in the Australian Open mixed doubles partnering Mahesh Bhupathi. Sun Tiantian and Nenad Zimonjić) won the final 7–6(4), 6–4.
Sania Mirza withdrew from Pattaya City because of a left adductor strain.
Sania reached the 4r at Indian Wells as No.21 seed, defeating No.9 seed Shahar Pe'er en route, but lost to No.5 seed Daniela Hantuchová.
At the 2008 Wimbledon Championships, as No.32 seed, Sania was defeated by qualifier Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, 6-0, 4-6, 9-7, having had several match points.
Sania was eliminated in the first round of the 2008 Beijing Olympics when she retired in her match against Iveta Benešová because of a right wrist injury. Throughout 2008, Sania was plagued by a slew of wrist injuries, requiring her to withdraw from several matches and the Roland Garros and US Open Grand Slams.
Sania picked up her maiden Grand Slam title in the 2009 Australian Open. Partnered with Mahesh Bhupathi, she won the mixed doubles title beating Nathalie Dechy (France) and Andy Ram (Israel) 6-3, 6-1 in the final in Melbourne. She then entered the Pattaya Women's Open Tournament in Bangkok where she reached the finals after a string of good performances. She lost the finals to Vera Zvonareva 7-5, 6-1. She made the semis in doubles in the same tournament.
Sania then competed in the BNP Paribas Open where she lost in the second round to Flavia Pennetta. She then participated in the Miami Masters and lost to Mathilde Johansson of France in the first round. Sania and her doubles partner Chia-jung Chuang of Chinese Taipei made the semifinals of the doubles event. Sania also crashed out in the first round of the MPS Group Championships but won the doubles title with Chuang.
This Sania Mirza Biography Page is Copyright © 2004 - 2009 Chuck Ayoub