Sania Mirza has decided to end her partnership with Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic.
30-year old Mirza will team up with Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan for the clay court season, starting with the Madrid Open from the 6th of May. 29-year old Shvedova is ranked 13 in the individual doubles rankings and won the Wimbledon and US Open women's doubles titles in 2010. She has won 13 career doubles titles on the WTA tour besides one singles crown. Shvedova is 5'11" tall, plays right-handed and employs a double handed backhand.
With Strycova having chosen to rest this week, Mirza formed a temporary partnership with with another Czech player, Andrea Hlavackova, for the Family Circle cup in Charleston. Mirza and Hlavackova, who were seeded two, lost their quarterfinal match in straight sets, 2-6, 4-6 to Raquel Atawo and Jelena Ostapenko last evening. Mirza is now returning home to Hyderabad for a few weeks of rest before the start of the clay court season. Her father and coach Imran confirmed to ESPN before leaving for India that the decision to part ways with Strycova was taken mutually.
"Yes, 2 titles, 3 finals, 2 semis and a couple of quarter-finals is a pretty decent showing over 10 tournaments together," Imran said. "But while Barbora would like to focus this year on her singles and is finding it exhausting when she goes deep in one or both formats, Sania is looking to win a few more big titles in doubles. Hence, it was mutually decided to part ways.'
Mirza teamed up with Strycova after splitting with Martina Hingis last year ahead of the US Open. Having enjoyed a sterling run of success with Hingis that included three consecutive Grand Slam titles and an unbeaten streak of 41 match wins, the team decided to part ways following a few months of underwhelming results that included early exits at the French Open and Wimbledon.
Mirza and Strycova tasted success instantly as a combination, racing to the title in Cincinnati in their first tournament together in August. Although they lost in the quarterfinals at the US Open, they continued their initial momentum with a title in Tokyo and a final appearance in Wuhan, both in September.
However, the pair haven't won a tournament together this year, though they did reach finals including last week in Miami, where they were beaten in straight sets by Gabriela Dabrowski of Canada & Yifan Xu of China. They also reached the final in Sydney at the start of the year but were shocked in the pre-quarterfinal of the Australian Open by the unheralded Japanese pair of Eri Hozumi and Miyu Kato.
Mirza and Strcyova also reached the semifinals at Doha and Dubai and were knocked out in the quarterfinals at Indian Wells. Mirza's only tournament win so far this year has come in the first tournament of the year at Brisbane, with American Bethanie-Mattek Sands. She started the year as the top ranked player in the WTA individual doubles rankings but has now slipped to seventh.