Australian Open 2017: Sania Mirza, Rohan Bopanna advance to second round of mixed doubles
Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna both made it to the second round of mixed doubles with their respective partners, making it a great day for the top Indian stars at the 2017 Australian Open in Melbourne on Saturday. While second seeds Mirza and Ivan Dodig beat the reigning US Open champions Laura Siegemund and Mate Pavic 7-5, 6-4, the unseeded combine of Bopanna and Gabriela Dabrowski eked out a 6-4, 6(5)-7, 10-7 win over Katarina Srebotnik and Michael Venus.
Mirza and Dodig struggle on break points
This was, without a doubt, a tough opening round for the second-seeded Mirza and Dodig. The 2016 French Open runners-up naturally did not have a smooth sailing throughout this match and could only convert five out of their 17 break points.
The Indo-Croatian pair made in-roads into their opponents’ serves early and went up 2-0. But the German-Croatian duo refused to bow down and came storming back to level the set at 4-4.
The set continued to be even till 5-5 after which Mirza and Dodig struck once again in the eleventh game. With her fiery forehands, Mirza was the architect of the decisive break, following which the second seeds served out the set successfully.
It was a mirror image of the first set in the second with the seeds opening up a 2-0 advantage but Pavic and Siegemund tied the set again at 3-3. Mirza and Dodig raised their level once more to grab the win in 1 hour 25 minutes.
Bopanna and Dabrowski do it the hard way
Bopanna and Dabrowski had a much better success rate on break points, converting two out of their four chances. The Indo-Canadian combine made the first breakthrough in the fifth game of the match to surge to 3-2. They held on to that advantage to bag the opening set, 6-4.
In the second set, the two teams broke each other to send the set to a tie-break. Bopanna and Dabrowski came back from 3-6 to reduce the deficit to 5-6 before conceding the set.
In the match tie-break, the Indo-Canadian pair initially trailed 2-5 from where they rebounded to level at 6-6. They accelerated through the rest of the breaker to book their place in Round 2.
Zeel Desai progresses in juniors
The action in juniors at Melbourne Park got under way on Day 6 and the two Indians competing in singles had mixed fortunes. 17-year-old Zeel Desai held her nerves for a gritty 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 win over Australia’s Kaitlin Staines in 1 hour 59 minutes to enter the second round of girls’ singles.
But Siddhant Banthia did not have the same fate in boys’ singles. The teenager went down fighting 6-2, 6(3)-7, 5-7 to Alexander Crnokrak of Australia in his opener.