Sania Mirza ended her glorious career with a first-round defeat in Dubai Tennis Championships on Tuesday.
The tennis star lost her women's doubles alongside America's Madison Keys 4-6, 0-6, against Russian pair Viktoria Kudermetova and Liudmila Samsonova.
The first set ended in a 3-3 tie between the two teams after a close opening to the game. The Kudermetova-Samsonova team broke Sania's serve first in the seventh game, but the Indo-American team quickly answered with their own break in the eighth.
Nevertheless, the No. 23 singles player in the world, Keys, was unable to maintain service in the ninth game, and the Kudermetova-Samsonova combo did it in the tenth to take a 1-0 lead.
Veronika Kudermetova and Liudmila Samsonova blanked Sania and Keys in the second set to win the match in just over an hour.
Sania Mirza had earlier announced that she will retire after the WTA 1000 tournament in Dubai. She retires as the greatest women's tennis player in the history of India, despite the lackluster conclusion to her career.
The six-time Grand Slam champion has won 44 WTA titles throughout her career, only one of them was in singles. Her most recent doubles victory was alongside Zhang Shuai of China at the Ostrava Open2021 in the Czech Republic.
Often regarded as the definitive gauge of a top tennis player's achievements on the pro circuit, Mirza's trophy cabinet is studded with six Grand Slam winners' medals.
The maiden triumph came in 2009, as she partnered Mahesh Bhupathi to clinch the Australian Open mixed doubles title. The duo of Mirza and Bhupathi paired up to do India proud yet again three years later, this time on the hallowed clay of Roland Garros.
Her third mixed doubles title at the Slams was at the 2014 US Open, partnering Brazilian player Bruno Soares. In 2015 Sania Mirza partnered up with Swiss legend Martina Hingis, with whom she won three back-to-back Grand Slam doubles titles.
Due to her accomplishments in tennis, Sania Mirza has also been conferred with the Arjuna Award in 2004, Padma Shri in 2006, Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award in 2015 and the Padma Bhushan in 2016.
(with inputs from ANI)