Seventh seeds Sania Mirza and Barbora Strycova relied on their vast experience to book themselves a berth in the quarter-finals of the 2016 US Open at New York on Monday. The Indo-Czech pair overcame a stiff resistance from the unseeded American-Japanese duo of Nicole Gibbs and Nao Hibino to post a 6-4, 7-5 victory in 1 hour 17 minutes.
Gibbs and Hibino had a strong start to this third round contest and even managed to make in-roads into their seeded rivals’ serves twice in the opening set. But Mirza and Strycova fought back well and secured three breaks of serve to pocket the opener in 32 minutes.
The second set was more keenly-contested where the seventh seeds broke twice to seal the deal.
Mirza and Strycova were the more aggressive pair, having produced 31 winners to Gibbs-Hibino’s 19. Making five less unforced errors than their opponents’ 31 also helped their cause. Overall, they scooped up 71 points while Gibbs-Hibino could only amass 57.
Mirza and Strycova have come to the US Open with some serious momentum after success at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati right before the US Open. They are yet to drop a set so far at the year’s final Slam.
They, however, need to be at their very best as they next face the top seeds and reigning French Open champions Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic. The French team had inflicted two final defeats on Mirza when she was with Martina Hingis earlier during the clay season.
This will be the Indian’s first meeting with them since May and it will be interesting to see how the defending champion responds this time with a new partner by her side.
Bopanna bows out of the 2016 US Open
Sania now remains the only top Indian in contention after the heartbreaking loss suffered by Rohan Bopanna in the mixed doubles quarter-finals on Monday. Bopanna and his Canadian partner Gabriela Dabrowski squandered a one-set lead to go down 6-1, 2-6, 8-10 to fellow unseeded team of Robert Farah and Anna-Lena Groenefeld.
Meanwhile, there was good news for Indian fans in the juniors. 17-year-old Pranjala Yadlapalli bounced back from a set down to defeat Poland’s Wiktoria Kulik 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 in Round 1. She next faces the 16th seed Alexandra Sanford for a place in the pre-quarter-finals.