Sania, Sunitha named in Olympics doubles draw

July 3rd, 2008 - 1:22 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 2 (IANS) India’s Sania Mirza and Sunitha Rao will compete in women’s doubles event of the Beijing Olympics as the International Tennis Federation included the pair in the direct acceptance list for the mega-event announced Wednesday. Sania will also compete in the singles event while Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi will lead India’s challenge in men’s doubles, according to the ITF list announced Wednesday.

The All India Tennis Association had written to ITF for a wild card for the duo in the Olympics.

Sania is ranked 19 in doubles, which is going to move up after her quarterfinal appearance in Wimbledon.

US-born Sunitha is currently 128th in doubles. She had a good year in doubles and in May she achieved her career high doubles ranking of 108.

For both men and women, this is the strongest field ever to enter the Olympic tennis since tennis returned to the event as a full medal sport in Seoul 1988.

Led by the world No. 1s, Roger Federer of Switzerland and Ana Ivanovic of Serbia, 17 of the top 20 men and 18 of the top 20 women will compete in Beijing.

Fifty-six players are entered on the basis of their singles ranking of June 9, following Roland Garros, with a limit of four singles players per gender per country.

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