Melbourne: Sania Mirza’s first Grand Slam outing after maternity leave ended with an early exit as the Indian ace retired mid-way into her women’s doubles first-round match due to a calf injury.
Sania and her Ukrainian partner Nadiia Kichenok, who came into the major after winning the doubles title at the Hobart International, were trailing 2-6 0-1 against the Chinese team of Xinyun Han and Lin Zhu when the Indian called it quits.
Sania has injured her leg during practice. She is returning to the circuit after a two-year break.
Her right calf strapped heavily, Sania struggled to move freely on the court. It also affected her serve.
Kichenok was also struggling at the net, often missing easy put-away volleys.
Serving at 2-4, Sania was broken by the Chinese and they served out the set easily.
The Indian took a medial timeout after the first set. Soon after, the Indo-Ukrainian pair was broken in the first game of the second set and Sania found it difficult to continue.
Sania had also pulled out of the mixed doubles event, forcing compatriot Rohan Bopanna to pair with Kichenok.
Also representing India in the mixed doubles is veteran Leander Paes, who has teamed up with Jelena Ostapenko, who had won 2017 French Open.
They are pitted against local wild card entrants Storm Sanders and Marc Polmans.