India’s flagbearer in women’s tennis has bid farewell to Wimbledon after her quest to win her seventh Grand Slam title ended in a semi-final defeat to defending champions Neal Skupski and Desirae Krawczyk in the mixed doubles event at Wimbledon. Sixth-seeded pair Sania Mirza and Croatian Mate Pavic went down 6-4, 5-7, 4-6 to Skupski of Great Britain and American Krawczyk in two hours, 16 minutes on Wednesday night.
Top-seeded pair of Skupski and Krawczyk will now face Australian duo Sam Stosur and Matthew Edben in the summit clash. The 33-year-old has been the most accomplished and celebrated Indian tennis player having clinched six Grand Slam titles, including three mixed doubles trophies. She was eyeing completing a Career Slam in mixed doubles.
Earlier, she won the mixed doubles titles in the 2009 Australian Open and the 2012 French Open with Mahesh Bhupati and the 2014 US Open with Brazil’s Bruno Soares. Speaking of her semi-final match, Sania Mirza and Pavic both dominated the first set on the back of strong serves. They won the first set 6-4 and were leading 4-2 in the second set but the duo bowed down in the next six games as second-seeded Skupski and Krawczyl outplayed their opponents in the decider game.
In the decider game, Sania Mirza and Pavic bounced back as they broke their opponent’s serve but were immediately broken back. In the 12th game, Pavic’s double-faulted twice with Skupski and Krawczyk converted the match point. Notably, this was the best performance of the Indian player at the All England Club, having previously reached the quarter-finals in 2011, 2013 and 2015.
The 35-year-old Sania Mirza had earlier announced that this will be her last participation in the Grand Slam tournament. She claimed that her body is ‘wearing down’ and the motivation and zeal for the game and everyday grind are not the same anymore.