Sania-Bhupathi reach Aus Open semis

India's Sania Mirza and Mahesh Bhupathi are through to the semi-finals of the Australia Open mixed doubles event in Melbourne.

Sania Mirza and Mahesh Bhupathi

The sixth seeded Indian pair of Sania and Bhupathi got the better of Liezel Huber of USA and Colin Fleming of United Kingdom in straight sets 7-6 (7-5), 6-2.

After being stretched in the first set that went right down to the wire, the Indians stamped their supremacy in the second set, converting two of three breakpoints, to clinch the match in 84 minutes.

Sania and Bhupathi smashed 27 winners as compared to 18 by Huber and Fleming.

Doubles Disappointment

Earlier, Sania Mirza and her Russian partner Elena Vesnina crashed out from Australian Open women's doubles semi-final in Melbourne.

The Indo-Russian pair suffered a 6-7, 6-2, 4-6 loss at the hands of the unseeded Russian duo of Svetlana Kuznetsova and Vera Zvonareva.

Sania-Vesnina lost the first set but came back in flying colours to win back the second set. However, it was the unforced errors which became the deciding factor.

Sania and Vesnina made as many as 51 unforced errors as opposed to just 24 by their Russian rivals. And even a massive 47 winners in contrast to 29 by Kuznetsova and Zvonareva could not save them.

Paes-Stepanek march on

However, there was more to cheer for India's tennis ace Leander Paes, who had a productive day at the Australian Open as he made the men's doubles semifinals with Radek Stepanek and entered the mixed doubles quarterfinals with Elena Vesnina.

The unseeded Indo-Czech pair of Paes and Stepanek registered a straight set win over 10th seeds Eric Butorac of USA and Brazil's Bruno Soares 6-4, 7-6 in a battle that lasted an hour and 39 minutes.

Paes and Stepanek looked more comfortable than their fancied opponents in the opening set as they held their serve with ease and managed to convert the only break point they got.

The American-Brazilian duo of Butorac and Soares though came up with a better show in the second set, putting pressure on their opponents' serve.

After both the pairs exchanged breaks, the set moved into a tie-breaker.

Paes and Stepanek did well to take a 3-0 lead in the tie-breaker and then held on to their nerves to win it 7-4.

Paes-Stepanek will now take on second seeds Belarus' Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor of Canada for a place in the final.

Paes and his Russian partner Vesnina, meanwhile, downed unseeded Su-Wei Hsieh of Chinese Taipei and Marcin Matkowski of Poland in straight sets 6-3 7-5. .

The fifth seeded combo of Paes and Vesnina had an easy outing as they took just over an hour to wrap up the match.

In the first set, Paes and Vesnina could convert four of the six break points they received to wrap up the set comfortably.

In the second set, Hsieh and Matkowski came back strongly, but Paes and Vesnina saved as many as five breakpoints, apart from converting three of six they had received, to get the better of their rivals.

They would now take on Rohan Bopanna and American Lisa Raymond in the last eight stage.


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