Sania, Bopanna enter quarters of Australian Open

Melbourne, Jan 25 (IANS) Indian tennis stars Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna earned contrasting victories to sail through to the quarter-finals of their respective categories at the Australian Open here on Monday.

Top seeds Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis earned their 33rd victory in a row to enter the last eight of women’s doubles by easily moving past experienced but scratch combination of Svetlana Kuznetsova (Russia) and Roberta Vinci (Italy) 6-1, 6-3 at the Margaret Court Arena in an hour and 21 minutes.

Both the pairs earned as many as six break point chances in the first set but the difference was that the top seeds were able to convert two, which won them the set, while the Russian-Italian pair failed at it.

The Indo-Swiss pair, dubbed ‘SanTina’, were easily the dominant pair in the first set, winning 39 points out of which 15 were winners.

Though Kuznetsova and Vinci managed to break Mirza and Hingis once in the second set, the world’s highest ranked pair were able to break the all European combine twice more to easily clinch the set and match and progress to the quarters where they will face German-American 12th seeds Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Coco Vandeweghe for a place in the semis.

A little while earlier, Bopanna, partnering Chinese Taipei’s Yung-Jan Chan, beat the Czech-Polish combine of Andrea Hlavackova and Lukasz Kubot in the mixed doubles second round. The third seeds needed an hour and 10 minutes to win the second round 4-6, 6-3, 10-6 on Show Court 3 of Melbourne Park.

After sharing the first two sets, it all boiled down to the super tie-break where the Indo-Chinese Taipei pair proved a tad better to clinch it 10-6. Bopanna and Chan were easily the more dominant pair. Their serve proved both a boon and a curse as, though they served as many as 10 aces, they also double faulted seven times!

In juniors’ action, Indians Pranjala Yadlapalli and Karman Thandi both won their girls’ singles second round matches to enter the third round.

No.10 seed Yadlapalli defeated Austrian Mira Antonitsch 7-6(5), 6-3 on Court 7 and next faces Russian eighth seed Anastasia Potapova while Thandi took care of Hungarian Panna Udvardy 6-4, 6-2 on Court 8 to be ready for local girl Sara Tomic.

In girls’ doubles first round, Thandi and Yadlapalli joined hands to be seeded fifth. They defeated Australian pairing of Petra Hule and Selina Turulja 6-4, 6-3 on Court 8 to enter the second round where they will take on Chinese combine of Siqi Cao and Jia Ren next.

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