Melbourne: Leander Paes emerged victorious in a tight mixed doubles contest against Mahesh Bhupathi to advance to the quarterfinals while Sania Mirza stormed into the last-eight stage in her two events at the Australian Open on Monday.
Paes and his Slovakian partner Daniela Hantuchova, unseeded in the tournament, scored an upset victory over eighth seeds Mahesh Bhupathi and Elena Vesnina of Russia 6-0 2-6 10-6 to make it to the quarterfinals of the mixed doubles.
Sania and her Zimbabwean partner Cara Black beat the pair of Eugenie Bouchard of Canada and Russia’s Vera Dushevina 6-4 6-3 in an hour and 12 minutes to reach the quarterfinals of the women’s doubles.The Indian then joined hands with her Romanian partner Horia Tecau to outplay Anastasia Rodionova of Australia and Britain’s Colin Fleming 6-2 6-2 in a 51-minute mixed doubles pre-quarterfinal match.
Another Indian, Rohan Bopanna and his partner Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia also entered the quarterfinals of the mixed doubles event after posting 7-6(5) 7-5 win over Australian duo of Ashleigh Barty and John Peers.The mixed doubles pre-quarterfinal match involving two Indians in Paes and his one-time partner Bhupathi was an intense affair and lasted 57 minutes.
After registering a comfortable win in the opening set, the Paes-Hantuchova pair slipped in the next one, even as Bhupathi and Elena converted two of the three break points to run away with the second set.The third and deciding set was a closely fought one but Paes and Hantuchova held on to their nerves to eke out a win.
They will now take on the pair of Kristina Mladenovic of France and Daniel Nestor of Canada in the last eight round match. Sixth seeds Sania and Cara hit 23 winners en route to their comfortable women’s doubles win over their unseeded opponents in the third round match. The Indo-Zimbabwean pair converted five out of seven break points, while their rivals could convert just two off six.
Sania and Cara now have a tough task at hands as they will meet world number one Italian combo of Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci in the quarterfinals.It was an easy outing for Sania and Tecau in their mixed doubles second round match as the duo won a total of 56 points as compared to just 33 by the Aussie-British pair.
Sixth seeded Sania and Tecau next face the winner of the match between Julia Goerges and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and Andrea Hlavackova and Max Mirnyi.Meanwhile, Bopanna and Srebotnik took an hour and 21 minutes to get the better of their unseeded rivals.
The Indo-Slovenian combination failed to convert as many as nine breakpoints out of 12 they got, but still managed to prevail over the Australian pair in a hard-fought contest. Bopanna and Srebotnik now take on another Australian duo of Jarmila Gajdosova and Matthew Ebden.