The top-seeded duo battled past the Rodionova sisters of Australia, Anastasia and Arina, 6-7, 6-3, 10-5 in their opening round of the USD 731,000 Clay Court event.

Hingis, 34, was slow to start with in the opening set and was broken in her first two service games but Sania held fort. Hingis found her rhythm in the second and in the super tie-break, the fast-moving Indian was just superb.

The Indo-Swiss duo, who decided to unite in February, will now meet the Spanish-Kazakh pair of Anabel Medina Garrigues and Yaroslava Shvedovain, who got past Lisa Raymond and Madison Keys 7-5 7-5.

With this win, Sania and Hingis climbed up a place to number two in the Road To Singapore doubles leaderboard.

Top eight teams compete for the Championships at the end of the year, which Sania and her the then partner Cara Black had won last season.

The Sania-Hingis pairing has been much-talked about in the tennis circuit and the top seeds lived up to the hype by not only triumphing in their maiden appearance together in Indian Wells in March but also followed it up with the Miami Open win.

Hingis has won 11 Grand Slams in the team discipline (nine in women's and two in mixed doubles) while Sania has claimed three Grand Slams (all in mixed).

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