Sania Mirza and her Czech partner Lucie Hradecka’s valiant effort went in vain as American duo Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula prevailed in the women’s doubles third round of the French Open in Paris on Tuesday.
Despite a combined age of 72 years, Mirza and Hradecka produced some high quality tennis but lost 4-6 3-6 to Pegula, ranked 11th in singles and world number 23 Gauff.
Mirza was impressive with her angled forehands while Hradecka’s power-packed backhand hitting from the baseline caused problems but the Americans got the crucial points that dictated the outcome of the match.
Mirza and Hradecka were down 3-5 in the opening set but Gauff, while serving for the set, committed a double fault to hand their opponents the chance for a break. Mirza easily dispatched a volley to grab the break-point for the team.
Hradecka served next and at 30-all, Sania fluffed an overhead smash to hand the Americans set point, which was converted when the Czech made a return error.
The Indo-Czech pair nosed ahead in the second set by breaking the serve of Pegula in the very first game and Mirza made it 2-0 with an easy hold.
Gauff’s serve was put under pressure. At 30-all, Mirza went for a deep return but that sailed over the baseline. Hradecka too went for big shots but her unforced error put the Americans on board.
Pegula found a stunning angled winner that sped off from the corner of the court when Hradecka served at 15-40, making it 2-2.
They were in danger of dropping serve again but Mirza saved three breakpoints in the sixth game. The Americans too saved three break chances.
However, the Americans found a way to get one more break and Pegula served out the match and the pair moved to the quarterfinals.