The fourth seeded Indian combine of Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna today beat Great Britain’s Andy Murray and Heather Watson 6-4, 6-4 to progress to the semi-finals in the mixed doubles event at Rio 2016.
It was the British pair who began the match looking the more powerful team, as Murray and Watson took the first break of serve in set 1 and quickly moved up to 2-0 over the Indians. But Mirza and Bopanna resurged to break back and immediately held to level at 2-2, which gave the pair renewed momentum.
Mirza’s characteristically strong forehand was out on full display tonight as the 29-year-old Women’s Doubles No. 1 played some strong attacking tennis. She served particularly well and didn’t face a break point all match, a far cry from her usually unreliable delivery.
Mirza’s 36-year-old doubles specialist partner also put in some strong serves today, volleying well to sneak shots past the British combine, both of whom are fresh off title wins at Wimbledon – Murray in the men’s singles, and Watson in the mixed doubles with Finnish partner Henri Kontinen.
Today, although Watson did manage some great shot placement, the British No. 1 was simply not strong enough in the end to counter the powerful Indian combine.
Mirza and Bopanna were stronger on the break point conversions, breaking their rivals on three of four opportunities, and some brilliant aces helped cement their strong position at the match today – seven in total between Mirza and Bopanna.
It should be noted, however, that despite a strong performance from the Indian pair, Murray also looked tired today. Playing in the men’s singles, the Scot is into the semi-finals after back-to-back three-setters against Italy’s Fabio Fognini and USA’s Steve Johnson.
Mirza and Bopanna will now have to await the results of the other mixed doubles quarter-final in their half, as Venus Williams and Rajeev Ram of the United States of America take on Italy’s Fabio Fognini and Roberta Vinci.
Fognini scalped a set off Andy Murray in the men’s singles, threatening the Scot a fair bit. His partner Roberta Vinci, meanwhile, may have crashed out of the women’s doubles but has a career Grand Slam to her name and is considered one of the strongest doubles exponents in the game.
Venus is fresh off a women’s doubles win at Wimbledon with sister Serena and a semi-final finish at the singles – despite dealing with autoimmune disorder and at 36, the oldest person in the Wimbledon draw.
The semi-finals will be played tomorrow.