Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Mixed Champions: Sun Tiantian (China) and Nenad Zimonjic (Serbia)

Sun and Nenad defeated Indians Mahesh Bupathi and Sania Mirza to win the mixed doubles title.

This is a little bit of an upset since Mahesh has been ranked number 1 in doubles and has several grand slam titles under his belt, while Mirza is a top 20 singles player. 

Sun is one of a handful of good Chinese women who have made an impact on the WTA Tour. She and Li Ting won the 2004 gold medal in women's doubles, a huge upset at the time. The pressure on Chinese players to win this summer is intense and insane. Last year the Chinese were not allowed to play Wimbledon because the Chinese Federation wanted them to play a local tournament. China was widely criticized for that move.  Sun said winning in Australia will hopefully be a good experience for her Olympic Games preparation. She sure knows what the locals demand to hear, right? Winning the lowly Australian, not good enough. Winning the 04 gold was good, but not as good as winning at home in Beijing. Hopefully a Chinese team will win, so the government will allow them to continue to play professional tennis.

Nenad had won two grand slam titles in the mixed before the 08 Australian (French and Australian). Another triumph for Serbia. I remember when Slobodan "Bobo" Zivojinovic was the top Yugoslavian player in the 1990s. He was a good doubles player and a top twenty singles player for a year or two. I wonder what he thinks about all the Serbs excelling in tennis.

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