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Mirza progresses, Bopanna misses out as hard-court season gets underway

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 are the second seeds at the Qatar Total Open
Modified 17 Feb 2017

Indian doubles No. 1 Rohan Bopanna, partnered by Czech ace Tomas Berdych at the ATP250 Rotterdam Open, lost out today to third seeds Marcel Granollers and Ivan Dodig in straight sets in the quarter-finals.

The Spanish-Croat combine breezed to an easy 6-3, 6-4 victory over their Indo-Czech rivals, completing a clinical 56-minute victory to progress to the semi-finals.

Berdych, the fourth seed in the singles, has done considerably better there, today defeating French ace Richard Gasquet in straight sets, 7-6(4), 6-1 to progress to the quarterfinals. Gasquet got off to a quick start in the pair’s match, and cruised to an early 3-1 lead before a trailing, lethargic Berdych picked up speed to take the set to a tiebreak. 

“They were two very different sets,” Berdych later said. “I didn’t show up for the beginning.” Under effective guidance from coach and former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic, however, Berdych managed to pick up the pace and breezed to a win after a commanding second set, having firmly shifted the momentum in his own direction halfway through the first set. 

Berdych is now to face Martin Klizan, who is the defending champion in Rotterdam.

Bopanna, meanwhile, has had a middling season so far. Having hit the top 10 last year with erstwhile partner Florin Mergea of Romania, the Indian ace qualified directly for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, partnering former doubles No. 1 Leander Paes there – the two crashed out in the first round. 

Announcing a split from Mergea late last year, Bopanna has had a series of partners on the Tour, among them Canadian slam winner Daniel Nestor. Most recently, however, Bopanna partnered compatriot Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan to a title win at the ATP250 Chennai Open, following which he teamed up with Uruguayan ace Pablo Cuevas at the Australian Open. 

Bopanna and Cuevas, ranked 28th and 33rd in the doubles respectively, suffered a shock upset to the local pair of Alex Bolt and Bradley Mousely, ranked 511 and 330 respectively.

The Indian is currently at 27th in the rankings.


Mirza progresses to semi-finals

Former doubles World No. 1 Sania Mirza, who is seeded second at the Qatar Open, is through to the semi-finals, having won her quarter-final tonight against the Canadian-Croat pair of Gabriela Dabrowski and Darija Jurak; Mirza and Strycova won 6-4, 6-3 in an hour and 16 minutes.

Interestingly, Dabrowski is now the regular mixed doubles partner of Rohan Bopanna.  

Earlier, the pair took  a comprehensive win over Xu YIfan and Raquel Atawo. Mirza and partner Barbora Strycova, who had an immensely successful end to the 2016 season, finished 6-2, 6-4 over the Chinese-American pair. 

The Indo-Czech pair have also got off to a good 2017, reaching the finals of the Sydney International in January, but suffered a shock loss at the Round of 16 at the Australian Open to the unseeded pair of Eri Hozumi and Miyu Kato, both of Japan. 

Mirza had been the top seed last year with former partner Martina Hingis, but the pair lost out at the quarter-final stage.

Second seeds Mirza and Strycova will next take on fourth seeds Abigail Spears and Katerina Srebotnik in the semi-finals.

Published 16 Feb 2017, 21:40 IST
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