Sania, Elena Win Indian Wells Title

Indian Wells (California), March 20 (IANS) India's Sania Mirza and her Russian partner Elena Vesnina have won the women's doubles title at the 2011 BNP Paribas Tennis Open here, defeating eighth-seeded Americans Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Meghann Shaughnessy 6-0, 7-5.

Sania and Vesnina took the first set Saturday in just 24 minutes before the Americans jumped to a quick 3-0 lead in the second.

Mattek-Sands and Shaughnessy broke for a second time to go 5-1 up, but the Indian-Russian duo roared back to reel off six games to take the title without dropping a set in the entire tournament.

Sania and Vesnina have become the fourth straight unseeded pair to win the title here. Vesnina and Russian Dinara Safina won here unseeded in 2008.

The other two unseeded pairs to win were Victoria Azarenka and Vera Zvonareva in 2009 and Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik last year.

Sania has now won 10 doubles titles and Vesnina four. They were teaming up for just the third time in tour-level competition, reaching the quarter-finals at Dubai and Doha before claiming their first title together here.

Mattek-Sands and Shaughnessy could not win a second title in their fourth WTA finals as a team. Their only victory came in Paris last month.

Shaughnessy, who lost both her previous finals here, has 17 career doubles titles.

The unseeded Sania and Vesnina jelled perfectly on the court. In the process, they knocked out seventh-seeded Iveta Benesova and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-2, 6-3.

The Indian-Russian pair looked vulnerable in the semi-finals when they let slip a handy 5-1 lead in the second set after blanking opponents Daniela Hantuchova and Agnieszka Radwanska in the first set to win 6-0, 6-4.

"We tried playing together in Dubai and Doha and it worked fine," Vesnina said. "From our first match, you could see it was already a team. It really works."

Sania added: "We weren't even supposed to play here, because initially I wasn't going to play Indian Wells.

"Now we're planning to play the rest of the year. To start with till Wimbledon and that is six months in any case."

Sania and Vesnina have also been Top 30 in singles and are hoping the doubles success will help boost them back towards that singles form.

"It improves certain areas of your game you don't use in singles," Sania said.

"People who do better in doubles go into singles and go to net and use certain serves more. It has always helped me - I guess I'm Indian, doubles comes more naturally to me!" she said.


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Title: Sania, Elena Win Indian Wells Title

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