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Indian Wells 2017: Sania Mirza in quarter-finals as Bopanna, Paes falter

Mirza could set up a big quarter-final clash

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - FEBRUARY 23:  Sania Mirza of India and Barbora Strycova of Czech Republic celebrate a point during their match against Abigail Spears of United States and Katarina Srebotnik of Slovakia on day five of the WTA Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship at the Dubai Tennis Stadium on February 23, 2017 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.  (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)
Mirza and Strycova could play Martina Hingis in the quarter-finals

Sania Mirza and partner Barbora Strycova are through to the quarter-finals of the BNP Paribas Open 2017 with a straightforward win over Italy’s Sara Errani and Alicja Rosolska of Poland, winning 6-2, 6-3.

The fourth seeded Mirza and Strycova took a clinical win in just over an hour, hitting 3 aces as some inopportune double faults by their opponents hastened the match. The Indo-Czech pair, who came together only last year, were taken to break point on seven occasions during this match, but managed to save 5 break points, key in keeping the momentum of the match firmly in their favour. 

Italy’s Errani and her partner, Rosolkska, were weaker on serve and broken a total of four times, with weak returning key to their loss in the second-round match; Errani is ranked 77th in the doubles, while Rosolska is 50th

Interestingly, Mirza’s win with Strycova sets up a potential quarter-final against Martina Hingis and her partner for the tournament, Yung-jan Chan. The Swiss former singles and doubles No. 1 partnered Mirza to Majors and WTA Tour success, with the pair ending 2015 – and spending much of 2016 ranked the top women’s doubles pair, before their shock split in August 2016. 

Both players went on to play with different partners, Hingis with American player CoCo Vandeweghe, and Mirza with her current partner, Barbora Strycova. Following a series of good results, Mirza was also the top-ranked player in 2016, but lost that ranking early this year when she partnered former partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands to a title win in Brisbane. 

Mirza and Hingis have been on opposite ends of the net a number of times since their split, and should Hingis and Chan pull off a win, could do so yet again in the quarter-finals. The Indian stands to gain points at the event, having finished in Round 2 in 2016.

Men unlucky

While Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna both played in the men’s doubles, neither was able to progress beyond Round 1, although Bopanna managed to come close yesterday. The former top 10 player, who partnered Argentina’s Pablo Cuevas, was up against former singles No 1 Novak Djokovic and partner Viktor Troicki, with the Indo-Argentinian pair taking a thundering first set win before Djokovic and Troicki found momentum and took the second.

Up a break in the decider, Bopanna and Cuevas, leading 4-1, eventually lost the match at the last moment despite a strong showing of tennis on court. 

Leander Paes also faced a loss in Round 1. Partnering Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro, who is enjoying a big return to form in the singles, Paes went down in a 3-6, 4-6 loss to Frenchman Gilles Muller and big-serving American Sam Querrey, who is fresh off his first title of 2017 at the Mexico Open. 

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