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Australian Open: Mirza-Dodig face Kyrgios-Tomljanovic in mixed doubles opener

FEATURED COLUMNIST
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662   //    21 Jan 2016, 18:36 IST
Ivan Dodig Sania Mirza
The pair were teammates during the IPTL

Top seeds Sania Mirza and Ivan Dodig have been presented with a tough opener as the mixed doubles draw of the 2016 Australian Open got announced on Wednesday. The Indo-Croatian pair will take on the Aussie duo of Nick Kyrgios and Ajla Tomljanovic in their quest to win their first Slam title together.

Dodig, who won the French Open men’s doubles title last year, is Sania’s new mixed doubles partner after she parted ways with Brazilian Bruno Soares after the 2015 US Open. The Croatian was her Indian Aces teammate during the 2015 International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) and his flying volleys can surely come in handy for the Indian.

However, they need to be wary of Kyrgios’ booming serve in their opener. The talented young Aussie duo will have the support of the entire crowd and is expected to compete well.

The top seeds do not face any seeded team before the quarter-finals, where their probable opponents might be the eighth seeds Max Mirnyi/Hao-Ching Chan or the defending champions Leander Paes/Martina Hingis.

Paes and Hingis, who captured three mixed doubles Slam titles last year, are unseeded and they begin against the British-Russian unseeded combine of Dominic Inglot and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

The third Indian in the draw – Rohan Bopanna – has paired up with Yung-Jan Chan of Chinese Taipei and they are seeded third. The Indo-Taipei pair reached the semi-finals of the US Open last year and will look to do well at the Australian Open.

They are in the bottom half of the draw which is headed by the second seeds Bob Bryan and Bethanie Mattek-Sands. The Americans are the likely semi-final opponents of Chan and Bopanna, who kick off their campaign against the unseeded Australians John Millman and Kimberly Birrell.

The first seeded rivals for the Indo-Taipei duo can be the seventh seeds Raven Klaasen and Raquel Atawo in the quarter-finals.

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FEATURED COLUMNIST
A freelance journalist based in Kolkata who is a diehard Rafael Nadal fan. She is also extremely passionate about India’s progress in sports and hopes to throw light on India’s unsung sports heroes through her articles. When not screaming her lungs out in support of her favourite sports stars, she can be seen reading, watching movies or immersed in planning her next travel destination!
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