French Open: Sania Mirza through to quarters; Rohan Bopanna makes the exit

Anand Datla
Cara Black and Sania Mirza (File Photo)

Indian interest in the French Open dwindled today to just Sania Mirza in the women's doubles, with the quarter-final exit of Rohan Bopanna from the mixed doubles event. Bopanna and Katerina Srebotnik had the match under control with a set and a break to boot, but Julia Georges and Nenad Zimonjic turned the tables on their opponents to snatch a come from behind victory 2-6, 6-4, 10-5 in an hour and six minutes on court 2 to reach the last four. In a match that preceded the Bopanna encounter, Sania and Cara Black were too well organised for Jelena Jankovic and Alisa Kleybanova. The fifth seeds won 6-3, 6-3 in a tightly contested affair to reach the quarterfinals of the women's doubles event.

Bopanna and Srebotnik got off to a rollicking start, breaking their opponents twice to wrap up the first set in 23 minutes. The duo lost three points on serve even as they relentlessly scored points off their opponents service games โ€“ taking 11 of 25 points to constantly push them to the back foot.

Aisam-Ul_Haq Qureshi and Rohan Bopanna at the French Open

But the equally experienced Zimonjic helped Georges raise her level as they continually probed Bopanna and Srebotnik. Eventually the duo ceded ground and the German-Serbian pair took two of four break points in the second set to even the match.

In the ensuing match tie-break, the eighth seeded Zimonjic-Georges ran up winners, clinching it in a one sided affair 10-5 to close out the match and upset the second seeded Indo-Slovakian team. Bopanna had earlier lost in the second round of the men's doubles event playing with Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi.

The experience of Sania and Cara came to the fore in their tussle against Jankovic and Kleybanova. Though the latter did their best to keep it close against the fifth seeded duo, Sania and Cara were able to take the marginal advantage needed in each set to complete victory in an up and down contest.

There were as many as nine breaks of serve as it went back and forth between the two pairs. But two breaks of serve in the first and four in the second were enough to see Sania and Cara through to the last eight.

However, they have a difficult match that awaits them in their quest for a place in the semifinals. The fifth seeded duo will play the top seeds Su-Wei Hsieh and Shuai Peng in the next round. The Chinese have enjoyed the upper hand in both their matches this year โ€“ at Indian Wells (7-6(5), 6-2) and in Madrid (5-7, 6-1, 10-8) โ€“ but Sania and Cara can take heart from the fact that they ran their opponents real close in Madrid, before losing the narrowest of margins.

Edited by Staff Editor


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