The singles life is well and truly over for Martina Hingis, but excellent chemistry with partner Sania Mirza has the Swiss veteran relishing her doubles renaissance.
Five-time grand slam champion Hingis and Indian ace Mirza won their 29th consecutive match together at the Sydney International on Thursday to book their spot in the final.
The world No.1 pair and last week’s Brisbane International winners withstood a fightback and a rain-enforced break at Olympic Park to beat Romania’s Raluca Olaru and Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova.
Their 29 wins eclipses the 28-match streak of Gigi Fernandez and Natasha Zvereva in 1994, though is still a long way off the all-time record of 109 matches set between 1983 and 1985 by Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver.
Hingis’ trophy cabinet is already bursting at the edges – she has 11 grand slam doubles titles accompanying her singles swag.
But after returning from a six-year retirement in 2013, it’s the 35-year-old’s recent success that catches the eye.
Moderate doubles results became exceptional last year when Hingis linked with Mirza, together winning back-to-back slams at Wimbledon and the US Open.
“This is something I dreamed about and was hoping for,” Hingis said.
“When I was playing singles, singles was the priority.
“I became (world) No.1 there … now I put 100 per cent or 120 per cent into this.
“The chemistry is amazing.
“We don’t always play super tennis, but we come out and find a solution.
“I think that’s what makes us right now the best doubles (players) in the world.”
It’s perhaps fitting that when the pair contest next week’s Australian Open it will be the 20th instalment since a 16-year-old Hingis won the 1997 title to become the youngest grand slam singles winner in the 20th century.
And there’s more to look forward to this year, when she partners Roger Federer at the Rio Olympics.
But singles, Hingis confirmed, will never again be on the agenda.
“I played actually couple matches in Fed Cup (in 2015) and the next event didn’t turn out that great, so I don’t want to do that mistake ever again,” she said.
“I just keep that aside. I prefer winning doubles tournaments with Sania.”