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Australian Open 2017: Sania Mirza progresses to Round of 16, Bopanna knocked out

Leander Paes is still in contention in the mixed doubles.

Exclusive 20 Jan 2017, 09:57 IST
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 18:  Sania Mirza of India and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic  compete in their first round match against Joclyn Rae of Great Britain and Anna Smith of Great Britain on day three of the 2017 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 18, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Jack Thomas/Getty Images)
Mirza and Strycova will now compete in the Round of 16

Fourth seed and defending champion Sania Mirza today took a straight sets win with partner Barbora Strycova over the Australian-Chinese pair of Sam Stosur and Zhang Shuai, 6-1, 6-4, to progress to the Round of 16 at the Australian Open. 

 In a match that took an hour and twenty minutes, Mirza and Strycova took an early break in the first set, then running away with that momentum to polish off the first 6-1 as they took successive breaks of serve. 

Their rivals just about managed to hold serve in that set, surprising given the immense skill of both Sam Stosur and Zhang Shuai, who have had singles success in the past as has Strycova. 

Incidentally, the Czech acce, who with Mirza has had a very successful doubles run since the pair joined forces, is also having a strong run at the singles, yesterday winning her Round of 32 match against Germany’s Andrea Petkovic with a bagel in the first set. 

Today, Mirza and Strycova faced somewhat of a fight back in the second set with Stosur and Zhang bringing out some attacking tennis. The pair were broken in the second, but managed successful breaks back. 

The pairs were level until 4-4 in the final set, when a crucial break for Mirza and Strycova gave them a 5-4 lead. The final game was not one-sided, however, with the Australian-Chinese combine threatening to break back immediately on Strycova’s serve. 

In the end, teetering between break points and match points, it was Mirza and Strycova who took match point and will progress to the Round of 16. 

Meanwhile, Rohan Bopanna, partnering Pablo Cuevas, lost to the all-Australian combine of Bradley Mousley and Alex Bolt in three sets. The Indo-Uruguayan pair started off strong, winning the first set convincingly, 6-2, but the young Australians brought out the attack in the second set, winning it in what would eventually be a largely one-sided tiebreak.

That appeared to arrest the momentum of the pair, with the Australians taking the final set 6-4 for a spot in the next round. 

Indian former Slam winner Leander Paes, playing with Brazilian Andre Sa, lost to Treat Huey and Max Mirnyi in another three-set match. He will contest the mixed doubles next, with Martina Hingis. 

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