Sania Mirza (born November 15, 1986) is an Indian tennis player. She was born in Mumbai, brought up in Hyderabad. Coached by her father, Imran Mirza, she began playing tennis at the age of six, turning professional in 2003. She is the highest ranked female tennis player ever from India, with a career high ranking of 27 in singles and 18 in doubles. She was ranked 31st in the singles category and 18th in the doubles category in the WTA rankings of January 7, 2008,
Sania Mirza holds the distinction of being the first Indian woman to be seeded in a Grand Slam tennis tournament when she was seeded 26th in the 2007 U.S. Open. Earlier in 2005, she had become the first Indian woman to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament at the 2005 U.S. Open, defeating Mashona Washington, Maria Elena Camerin and Marion Bartoli. In 2004, she finished runner up at the Asian Tennis Championship. In 2005, Mirza reached the third round of the Australian Open, losing to eventual champion Serena Williams. On February 12, 2005, she became the first Indian woman to win a WTA singles title, defeating Alyona Bondarenko of Ukraine in the Hyderabad Open Finals.
Mirza won the 2003 Wimbledon Championships Girls' Doubles title, teaming up with Alisa Kleybanova of Russia. Mirza does not enjoy clay court. Her best performance in French Open singles has been a second round appearance in 2007.
As of September 2006, Mirza has notched up three top 10 wins against Svetlana Kuznetsova, Nadia Petrova and Martina Hingis.
At the 2006 Doha Asian Games, Mirza won the silver in the women's singles category and the gold in the mixed doubles partnering Leander Paes. She was also part of the Indian women's team that won the silver in the team event.
Mirza had the best results of her career during the 2007 summer hardcourt season, finishing eighth in the 2007 U.S. Open Series standings. She reached the final of the Bank of the West Classic and won the doubles event with Shahar Pe'er, and reached the quarterfinals of the Tier 1 Acura Classic.
At the 2007 U.S. Open, she reached the third round before losing to Anna Chakvetadze for the third time in recent weeks. She fared much better in the doubles, reaching the quarterfinals in mixed with her partner Mahesh Bhupathi and the quarterfinals in the women's doubles with Bethanie Mattek, including an impressive win over number two seeds Lisa Raymond and Samantha Stosur.
She has stated that two of her best friends are fellow WTA tour players, Anna Chakvetadze and Bethanie Mattek.
* 2008 Australian Open, lost in the final of Australian Open mixed doubles with partner Mahesh Bhupati.
* 2008 Australian Open, seeded 31st in the tournament, loses to Venus Williams in the third round 7-6(0), 6-4. Reached Finals of mixed doubles with Mahesh Bhupati.
* 2007 U.S. Open, seeded 26th in the tournament, reaches the third round defeating US veteran Laura Granville 6-3, 7-5, before losing to Anna Chakvetadze 2-6, 3-6.
* 2007 Pilot Pen Tennis tournament, won the doubles title partnering Italian Mara Santangelo, beating the top seeds Liezel Huber and Cara Black 6-1, 6-2.
* 2007 East West Bank Classic, beats Martina Hingis for the second time in a row in the second round 6-2, 2-6, 6-4.
* 2007 Acura Classic, reaches quarter-finals after defeating two Top 20 players Shahar Pe'er and Dinara Safina. However, she lost to top-seed Maria Sharapova 6-2, 6-1.
* 2007 Bank of the West Classic, reached third career final after defeating Akiko Morigami, Tatiana Golovin, Patty Schnyder and Sybille Bammer, but lost to Anna Chakvetadze 6-2 6-3. Claimed the Doubles title with partner Shahar Pe'er, beating Anna Chakvetadze and Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 7-6.
* 2007 Western & Southern Financial Group Women's Open, won the doubles title with Bethanie Mattek as the 1st seeds. In the final they defeated Alina Jidkova and Tatiana Poutchek 7-6 7-5.
* 2007 Western & Southern Financial Group Women's Open, reached the semifinals as the 3rd seed, finally losing to 1st seeded, and eventual champion, Anna Chakvetadze 2-6, 7-5, 3-6.
* 2006 15th Asian games, Doha, Qatar: Mixed doubles - won gold medal for India partnering Leander Paes. They beat Japan's Satoshi Iwabuchi and Akiko Morigami 7-5, 5-7, 6-2
* 2006 15th Asian games, Doha, Qatar: Singles - won silver medal losing to China's Jie Zheng 4-6, 6-1, 1-6
* 2006 15th Asian games, Doha, Qatar: Team Tennis - won Silver medal for India pairing Shikha Uberoi. They lost to Chinese Taipei team.
* 2006 Sunfeast Kolkata Open singles: reached semi-finals, losing to eventual champion, Martina Hingis 6-1 6-0
* 2006 Sunfeast Kolkata Open]] doubles: Won the tournament partnering Liezel Huber. They beat Yulia Fedak and Yuliana Beygelzeimer 6-4 6-0
* 2006 Bangalore Open (Hyderabad Open in the previous years) doubles: Won the tournament (partnering with Liezel Huber)
* 2006 Won Silver medal in Qatar Asian Games 2006 Women's singles final and Gold medal in mixed doubles (partnering with Leander Paes)
* 2005 Japan Open: reaches the semi-finals of women's singles and doubles (partnering Shahar Peer of Israel); reaches her highest doubles ranking of 114.
* 2005 U.S. Open: reaches 4th round by defeating Marion Bartoli of France in straight sets (7-6(4), 6-4) before losing to top seed Maria Sharapova 6-2, 6-1. Voted Best Player of the day on the 3rd day for winning her 2nd round match despite bleeding toes.
* 2005 Forest Hills Women's Tennis Classic, New York: reaches her second WTA final but fails to win.
* 2005 Acura Classic: upsets Nadia Petrova in 2nd round but loses in the third round to Akiko Morigami of Japan (2-6,6-4,4-6). By beating the 8th-ranked Petrova, she breaks into top 50 in world rankings for the first time ever.
* 2005 Dubai Tennis Championships: Upset reigning US Open Champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 6-2 in 2nd round to reach the quarter-finals
* 2005 Hyderabad Open singles: Won the tournament defeating Alyona Bondarenko of Ukraine 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 in the final and became the first Indian woman to capture a WTA singles title.
* 2005 Australian Open singles: 3rd round: Became first Indian woman to reach the 3rd round of a Grand Slam tournament.
* 2004 Hyderabad Open doubles: Won the tournament (partnering with Liezel Huber) to become the youngest Indian to win a WTA or ATP tour title and the first Indian woman to capture a WTA tour title. entered the singles as wild card but lost in the first round to the eventual winner Nicole Pratt.
* 2003 Wimbledon Championships Juniors doubles: Won the tournament (partnering with Alisa Kleybanova) to become the youngest Indian and the first Indian woman to win a junior Grand Slam title.
* 2003 Afro-Asian Games: won four gold medals - Women's singles, Mixed doubles (with Mahesh Bhupathi), Women's doubles and Women's team events (the last two golds in partnership with Rushmi Chakravarthy).
Criticism have been raised in some Islamist quarters supposedly due to her attire not being conformant to Islamic Dress Code. According to one report published September 8, 2005, an unnamed Islamic scholar had issued a fatwa, saying that her attire is contrary to what is permitted by Islam. A further report published the next day on this fatwa elaborated that Mirza was unfazed by the comments made by Syed Yousaf Bin, the chief patron of the Ulema Board, in Hyderabad. Large numbers of Muslim clerics protested her attire, accusing her of being a "corrupting influence on the youth." She has been widely attacked and vilified in Islamist circles, including a cleric named Haseeb-ul-hasan Siddiqui who said "The dress she wears on the tennis courts…leaves nothing to the imagination, She will undoubtedly be a corrupting influence.". Islamist groups such as Jamiat-ulema-e-Hind allegedly threatened to disrupt her tennis matches, following which the Calcutta police had to tighten security measures to protect her.Sania mirza herself a Muslim from Vijaynagar also attracted a response from the Major Shia Organization in india, The All-India Shia Muslim Personal Law Board on Saturday disapproved the edict issued by some Muslim clerics on dresses worn by Indian teenage tennis sensation Sania Mirza while playing and asked them not to meddle in [the] sports arena.
In 2006, some newspapers reported that Mirza declined from playing with an Israeli tennis player Shahar Pe'er for fear of violent protests from India's Muslim clerics and their opposition to the existence of Israel. However, these reports were dismissed by Mirza as "baseless" and in 2007, Pe'er and Mirza teamed up again at Wimbledon. The duo made the third round of Wimbledon before being knocked out by the top seeds.
Mirza said in January 2008 that she considered quitting the sport because of undue controversy surrounding her actions. Mirza was pictured resting her feet during a press conference at the 2008 Hopman Cup, with an Indian flag in close proximity. She faces possible prosecution under the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act after a private citizen complained. Mirza protested that, "I love my country, I wouldn't be playing Hopman Cup otherwise", and said that she meant no disrespect. On February 4, 2008, Mirza said that she would stop appearing in tennis tournaments held in India, starting with the 2008 Bangalore Open next month.
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