When Will Sania Mirza Breakthrough On The WTA Tour?
Women’s tennis needs Sania Mirza to reach the top. The only women of colour that are at the top of women’s tennis are the Williams Sisters. However, Venus and Serena are now veterans. When will the Asian women make their breakthrough on the WTA tour? Women’s tennis needs to become more international because right now the new wave of talent is emerging from Eastern Europe.
The best Asian female tennis player ever was the Japanese woman Kimiko Date. Another Japanese woman Ai Sugiyama she did manage to reach the WTA top ten and a few grand slam quaterfinals. However, Ai just wasn’t as consistent or talented as Kimiko but she still is a solid player. Ai is also an excellent doubles player.
Although Kimiko Date retired in 1996 I still miss her. Kimiko she was an incredible player. Kimiko was fast, powerful, quick, and smart. Kimiko reached the semifinals of the Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon. Kimiko also defeated Steffi Graf, Gabriela Sabatini, and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario. Sadly, for women’s tennis Kimiko retired at the tender age of twenty five. Kimiko reached a career high of number four in the world.
Sania Mirza has the talent, the intelligence, and yes she is a very attractive young woman. Sania’s got spunk I like that about her she’s very outspoken and stands up for herself. Prior to the summer 2007 hardcourt season Sania Mirza’ was in a slump. Sania Mirza is a star not just in India but also all over the world. Sania’s matches usually take place on show courts because tennis fans know about her and love her. Some people though in the tennis world believe Sania is receiving too much hype without producing the results.
At the end of 2006 Sania’s ranking dropped and she just wasn’t living up to her potential. Quietly, tennis experts and fans on the internet were wondering was Sania just a lot of hype or is she really talented? Sania has won only one WTA tour singles title, she did reach the US Open fourth round in 2005.
Everything changed for Sania in the summer of 2007 Sania reached the semifinals of Cincinnati. Cincinnati is a tier III event so the competition wasn’t very deep it was just important that Sania was winning matches again. Sania lost in a tight three setter to Anna Chakvetadze in the semifinals. However, Sania won the doubles title with American Bethanie Mattek.
Sania continued her strong play at the Stanford WTA event this was very impressive because Stanford is a tier II tournament. Tier II is a higher level with higher ranked players in the competition. I was very happy for Sania with her performance in Stanford she defeated Tatiana Golovin and Patty Schnyder both top twenty players. In the semifinals, Sania defeated Sybille Bammer to reach the final. Although, Sania lost to Anna Chakvetadze she won the doubles title with Israel’s Shahar Peer.
The surprise to many tennis fans is that Sania was finally demonstrating she had consistency, stamina, and resolve that she can play well for weeks in a row. Sania continued the strong play in San Diego a tier I WTA event. Sania beat her friend Shahar Peer a top twenty player in a tough three setter. Next, Sania defeated Marat Safin’s younger sister Dinara Safina easily 6-1 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals. It was an important win because Safina is ranked in the WTA top twenty she’s one of the better players on the tour. Although Maria Sharapova rolled over Sania in their quarterfinal showdown easily in straight sets. I was impressed with Sania’s play.
In Los Angeles, Sania defeated Martina Hingis for the second time in a very impressive three set victory. Even though Hingis was not ranked at the top she still beat a legend in the women’s game. Sania was tired in her third round match and lost to Frenchwoman Virginie Razzano. Sania simply ran out of gas she was exhausted in the shock loss to the Frenchwoman.
Sania skipped the Toronto WTA event for a week of rest but next played New Haven. I felt it was unnecessary for Sania to play New Haven she lost early in singles anyway. I think Sania needs to fix her schedule a bit she plays too much tennis. I understand Sania plays tier III events to gain confidence and win matches. However, I just feel that too much tennis is never good for the body. Sania won the doubles title with Italian woman Mara Santangelo. Sania actually has had a lot of success in women’s doubles she won four WTA doubles titles in 2007. I wonder since Sania volleys very well why isn’t she incorporating her doubles skills into her singles game?
I felt that Sania played too much tennis leading up to the US Open she lost once again to Anna Chakvetadze in the third round. Indian journalists have been talking for years about Sania and she definitely has the talent. I like Sania’s game she is fearless she has a huge forehand, very good backhand and she has gotten into much better physical shape. Sania goes for her shots and believes in her game. I just kind of wish Sania would put a little more thought into the tennis. Sania need to learn to play the percentages more if she did she would make less unforced errors. Sania needs to be a bit more patient in the rallies and wait for the right shot and then go for the winner.
The only major weakness in Sania’s game I feel is her serve she just kind of spins the serve in. Sania’s serve is all arm it is definitely the weakest link in her game. I believe that Sania really needs to improve her serve if she wants to reach the top ten of the WTA. I honestly believe Sania should be in the top twenty of the WTA right now. I don’t see any real separation between Sania and the women ranked between number eleven in the world and number twenty in terms of talent. Sania has the talent to be top ten I honestly believe this.
Sania was injured earlier this year so that can be an explanation to her slow progression up the WTA tour rankings. I think everyone is just waiting for the big breakthrough. In the summer of 2007 Sania finally cracked the WTA top thirty reaching a high of number twenty seven in the world. Everyone knows Sania Mirza is much better then this. Sania is currently ranked number number thirty two on the WTA tour.
The question is what does Sania need to do to reach the top twenty at least? I guess, become more consistent is the obvious thing she needs to do. Consistency is not an easy thing to achieve but it can be done. I think the players in the top ten and top twenty tend to be more consistent they don’t lose early to players they are not supposed to lose to. Sania does have a tendency to play well one week and not so well the next. I think this is why her success this summer was so impressive because she played well for three consecutive weeks in a row.
I think being ranked in the top twenty is not out of the question for Sania. Sania has beaten top players like Svetlana Kuznetsova, Martina Hingis, and Nadia Petrova before. I still believe Sania needs a better serve. I hope Sania seriously considers improving her serve she has to realize she needs to learn to win free points on the serve. Professional tennis is all about holding serve and breaking serve. Sania can break serve but her own serve gets broken too often. Sania has made a dramatic improvement in her fitness she is much fitter and quicker on the court. I would like to see Sania construct points a bit better she needs to realize she doesn’t need to hit the ball hard all the time. And why isn’t Sania coming to net? Sania volleys very well?
Some people say Sania is inconsistent and I do agree to a certain extent she is. I don’t think talent is what separates the top ten from the rest. I think its just the execution on the big points. Prior to the summer of 2007 tennis fans were starting to have doubts about Sania Mirza’s potential. I feel right now Sania is kind of an underachiever at the moment she has much more game then say Marion Bartoli or Shahar Peer.
Marion Bartoli reached the finals of Wimbledon that was her breakthrough event. However, the question in 2008 is can Marion Bartoli maintain her top ten ranking? And can Marion beat the top ten players? Bartoli does need to get into better shape Martina Navratilova criticized Bartoli about her weight at the French Open this year. I have to agree with Martina because Marion is too good her weight is holding her back. Marion’s definitely got the weapons she hits the ball on the rise hard off both sides like Monica Seles her idol. Marion’s fitness will be key in 2008.
Shahar Peer is in excellent shape but she lacks the big weapons. Yet Shahar Peer proved she is someone to watch in 2008 she reached two grand slam quaterfinals this year at the Australian Open and the US Open. However, when I make an analysis of Shahar’s game she is more of a counterpuncher she is more consistent then Sania but not as talented. Shahar doesn’t have any big weapons but she is very steady. Sania does have the weapons but not the consistency. I think Sania needs to realize when she is missing shots she does need to pull back a bit work the point more. Once the point is in Sania’s favor she then should go for the winner.
Women’s tennis really isn’t that international as the media claims. Right now the Eastern Europeans are crowding the WTA top ten. Justine Henin is from Belgium and she is number one. However right now there are so many Eastern European players in the top twenty coming up from Russia or Serbia. The only players not from Eastern Europe in the top ten right now are the Williams Sisters, Justine Henin, and Marion Bartoli.
Where are the Western Europeans, the Americans, the Asians, or the Africans? Na Li from China she is an amazing talent but again Na Li started 2007 strongly yet she fizzled. Na Li reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals in 2006 losing to Kim Clijsters.
I would love to see an Asian woman win a grand slam singles event. When is an Asian woman going to be ranked in the top ten? 2008 is going to be an interesting year for Sania Mirza she is twenty one years old now. The expectations in India are very high for Sania given the fact she proved in the summer of 2007 she is no flash in the pan. Sania proved she can beat the top twenty women and she belongs in the top twenty.
So why hasn’t Sania reached the top twenty yet? I guess this is the frustrating part? I wish I could magically just move Sania right up into the top twenty of the WTA computer. However, I cannot do that. In terms of talent right now I feel Sania should be in the top fifteen in the world. Sania is very talented I hope she lives up to her potential. I think the key for Sania again is her fitness when Sania is fit she is dangerous.
I am also hoping anybody please tell Sania to fix her serve. How can such a talented player like Sania Mirza have such a weak second serve? Sania’s first serve is decent but its not powerful enough. Sania needs to beef up her serve big time it is simply not strong enough. Sania needs to visit a serve coach and learn to bend her knees more. When you bend your knees and get wrist snap and racket head speed this is where the power comes from for the serve. Doesn’t Sania know her first serve isn’t good enough? I watched the match Sania played against Maria Sharapova and Sharapova was relentless she constantly attacked Sania’s serve and made her pay for it. The top women are not nice they will destroy a weak serve. Right now Sania does have a weak serve.
It is time for Sania to move to the next level. I am tired of seeing her ranked with the lower ranked players. Can Sania win a grand slam? I don’t know? But I do know Sania should be top twenty by now. Am I projecting perhaps? Sania is such an exciting player and the WTA tour needs more international stars that are not Americans or Europeans. The WTA really does need players from Asia to step up to the plate and really make their move to the top of women’s tennis.