Sania Mirza exits Australian Open with calf injury

Melbourne: Indian tennis star Sania Mirza’s campaign at the Australian Open came to an abrupt end on Thursday after she retired mid-way into her women’s doubles first-round match with an injury. Mirza and her Ukranian partner Nadiia Kichenok were trailing 0-1 in the second set against the Chinese pair of Xinyun Han and Lin Zhu when the Indian was forced to retire due to a calf injury. The Indo-Ukranian pair had lost the first set 2-6. Mirza, who had injured her leg during practice, went into the match with heavy strapping and didn’t look comfortable throughout the 33 minutes the match was played.

The 33-year-old had earlier pulled out of the mixed doubles event — where she was supposed to partner with compatriot Rohan Bopanna — following the same injury. Former doubles No.1 Mirza and Kichenok had last week won the Hobart International title after defeating second-seeded Chinese duo Peng Shuai and Zhang Shuai 6-4, 6-4 in the final.

Three-time doubles Grand Slam winner Mirza has returned to competition after a two-year hiatus, initially due to injuries and then welcoming her son in October 2018.

The Indian star last won a trophy alongside Bethanie Mattek-Sands at the Brisbane International in the first week of the 2017 season, one of three doubles finals she reached that year before announcing her pregnancy in April of 2018.

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