Sania starts season with World Team Challenge

Sania gets an opportunity to assess her form and recovery from a career threatening wrist injury when she competes in World Team Challenge tournament.

updated: January 06, 2009 10:08 IST
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Hong Kong:

Sania Mirza gets an opportunity to assess her form and recovery from a career threatening wrist injury when the Indian tennis star competes in World Team Challenge tournament, kicking off from Wednesday.

The event will also help the Indian ace prepare for the first Grand Slam of the year -- the Australian Open -- as the tournament features the big wigs of women's tennis, including world number one Jelena Jankovic and multiple-Grand Slam winner American Venus Williams.

"Coming back from a career-threatening injury makes it very special to be back," Sania said.

The event pits three top players from Europe, Russia, America and Asia-Pacific against each other.

Sania will represent Asia Pacific along with team captain China's Zheng Zie, who became the first player from her country to reach Wimbledon semifinals last year, and local player Zhang Ling.

The tournament will kick off with a match between number one players from the Asia-Pacific zone and top seeds Russia --Zheng Jie and Vera Zvonareva.

Sania as number two player of the team will play the second singles against her nemesis and world number 18 Ana Chakvetadze.

Sania has never won a match against Chakvetadze, who emerged winner in all their four meetings so far, including the third round of US Open in 2007.

Sania could play only 12 tournaments last year due to a wrist injury and was forced to skip the French Open and the US Open, which resulted in a fall in her rankings to 100.

As per the format of the tournament, top two players from each team will compete in singles, while the third player called the 'Star of Tomorrow' competes in doubles along with one of the singles players.

The four teams are placed into a semi-finals draw based on seedings determined by the combined WTA ranking of the two singles players from each team.

Each semi-final tie consists of two singles matches and one doubles match.

The winners of the semi-finals will advance to the J B Gold Group Final and the losers to the J B Silver Group Final. The J B Silver Group Final also consists of 2 singles matches and 1 doubles match.

The Gold Group Final consists of four singles matches and one doubles match.


Europe: Jelena Jankovic (SRB), Agnes Szavay (HUN) and Michelle Larcher de Brito (POR).

Russia: Vera Zvonareva, Anna Chakvetadze and Alexandra Panova.

The Americas: Venus Williams (USA), Gisela Dulko (ARG) and Coco Vandeweghe (USA).

Asia Pacific: Zheng Jie (CHN), Sania Mirza (IND) and Zhang Ling (HKG).