It had to happen. In the first tournament since their highly talked about split-up, Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis ran into each other in the final. Sania, playing with her new partner Barbara Strycova, faced off against Hingis and Coco Vandeweghe in the Cincinnati Open on Sunday, with the Indian-Czech pair coming up trumps.
While admitting that playing Hingis, a doubles partner she won three consecutive Grand Slam titles with, was not the "easiest" thing in the world, Sania would certainly have been glad and relieved to have ended up on the winning side. Sania and Strycova beat Hingis and Vandeweghe 7-5, 6-4 to clinch the Cincinnati Open women's doubles title on Sunday.
"We played each other in the final, which is of course the best time to play each other," Sania told ESPN. "It was not the easiest situation, it is a bit weird.
"There are nerves but at the end of the day we are tennis players and we have to try and win and do our best and we both tried to do the same thing.
"We had a great partnership but it was time to move on and we have moved on. We've both had a great tournament. I have to look forward and I have to focus all my energy on this partnership which is obviously doing great."
The moving on part came as a surprise to many, considering Sania and Hingis had enjoyed so much success together and were the number one team in the world. But, at the end of the day, once the cracks began to appear, with results after the Australian Open going downhill, the two experienced doubles players decided to take time off from each other.
Maybe they will get back together sometime in the future â€“ they will play as a team in the WTA Tour Finals at the end of the season â€“ but for the here and now, Sania will certainly be feeling vindicated having already won her first title since her breakup with Hingis.
The title win would also have gone a long way in batting away the Olympic blues for the Hyderabadi. Sania was left in tears after missing out on a medal, when she and her mixed double partner Rohan Bopanna, lost to Radek Stepanek and Lucie Hradecka in the bronze medal match, but such is the nature of modern sport that there is always the next tournament to help heal those wounds.
"I don't believe in regrets," Sania added. "As an athlete I can't harp on about whether I made that forehand or someone made a serve or we would have won the match, that's not how sport works. In sports it is just about trying and fighting. Some days you fight and fail and some days you succeed and that's why sport is a great leveller.
"Was it disappointing and extremely shattering? Of course it was. But does that mean my world is over? No, of course not.
"Of course I would have liked to win a medal, it's really unfortunate it didn't happen. We tried our best that's all we can do but people have to take things in perspective and understand that we were fourth best in the world. I understand you don't win a medal for that but I will take that, I'd rather be the fourth best than the 100th best."
Currently the best in the world, Sania will hope to defend her US Open title with her new partner, when the final Grand Slam of the year comes calling from the end of this month.