MELBOURNE -- Sania Mirza's first Grand Slam match since becoming a mother ended with an early exit as the Indian retired with a calf strain during her women's doubles first-round match at the Australian Open on Thursday.
Sania and her Ukrainian partner Nadiia Kichenok were trailing 2-6, 0-1 against the Chinese team of Xinyun Han and Lin Zhu when the Indian called it quits. Sania, whose last Grand Slam was at the 2017 US Open, came into Melbourne after winning the doubles title with Kichenok at the Hobart International, her first tournament in over two years.
Sania, who injured her leg during practice, had her right calf strapped and struggled to move freely on the court, with her serve also affected by her impaired movement. Kichenok, meanwhile, was struggling at the net, often missing easy put-away volleys. Serving at 2-4, Sania was broken by the Chinese pair, who served out the set easily. Sania took a medical timeout before she and her partner were broken to begin the second set.
Sania also pulled out of the mixed doubles draw, 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, the winner of the 2017 French Open singles title. They are pitted against local wild card entrants Storm Sanders and Marc Polmans in the first round.
On Wednesday, India's Rohan Bopanna and Japanese partner Yasutaka Uchiyama lost to 13th seeds Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan 1-6, 6-3, 3-6 in the first round, while Divij Sharan and his partner Artem Sitak of New Zealand advanced to the second round with a 6-4, 7-5 win over the Spanish-Portuguese duo of Pablo Carreno Busta and Joao Sousa.