Four-time Sony Open Champion Martina Hingis, who won two titles each in singles and doubles, had a flair for drama when she dominated women's tennis in the late 1990s. But it's not likely that she ever produced anything quite as dramatic as she and doubles partner Sabine Lisicki did on Wednesday at the 2014 Sony Open Tennis in a thrilling quarterfinal match that included battling back from 7 match points, before they defeated Anabel Medina Garrigues and Yaroslava Shvedova 3-6, 7-6(7) and 10-7 in a match defining super tiebreak.
"I don't ever think I had a match like this," said Hingis, adding that the tension and match points saved will undoubtedly lead to more confidence for the pairing. "You start to thrive on it."
Hingis, whose 2 singles titles (1997, 2000) sandwiched her doubles titles (1998, 1999) at the Sony, led an improbable comeback starting at 4-5 in the second set and 15-40 down. Hingis-Lisicki won three straight points to even the match at 5-5. At deuce in that game, Medina Garrigues hit a volley that was called out. After a challenge, replay showed that the volley missed by mere millimeters. "It missed by a hair," said Hingis.
The pair would turn away another two match points at 5-6 down and then two more in the 2nd set tiebreaker before defeating their opponents in a third-set super tiebreaker to win the match. Medina Garrigues and Shvedova had not lost a set coming into the quarterfinal.
Hingis and Lisicki, who were given a wildcard to enter the doubles tournament, are now into the Sony Open semifinals with Hingis only two matches away from winning her third Sony Open Tennis doubles title and her fifth overall. Hingis has already done better at the Sony Open than in her previous six tournaments since making her latest return to professional tennis.
The five-time singles Grand Slam winner and nine-time doubles Grand Slam champion has come out of retirement several times since first leaving the game in 2003. When asked if success at the Sony Open would lead to a repeat pairing at the Grand Slams, Hingis said she wasn't looking that long term. "I know we play Friday," she said.
Hingis and Lisicki have known each other since the latter was 10 years old and she traveled to Switzerland to practice with Hingis' mother. Lisicki said the friendship they share helps their chemistry on court. " We play great doubles together and have fun. That's why we are in the semis," said last year's Wimbledon finalist.