Paes, Bhupathi, Sania excel; India in line for 3 tennis Gold

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Doha, Dec 12 (UNI) Davis Cup captain Leander Paes, 10-time Grand Slam winner Mahesh Bhupathi and Hyderabadi ace Sania Mirza kept India in hunt for an unprecedented three tennis Gold medals by reaching the finals of the men's doubles, mixed doubles and women's singles events of the 15th Asian Games here today.

In women's singles, Sania destroyed top seed Na Li of China 6-2, 6-2 to book her final berth, while Paes and Bhupathi steamrolled fifth seeds Cecil Mamiit and Frederick Taino of the Philippines 6-2, 6-4 to reach the men's doubles final.

Later in the mixed doubles semifinals, the Paes-Mirza pair had to toil hard before taming the Chinese pair of Xinyuan Yu and Tiantian Sun 6-2, 2-6, 6-1 in more than one and a half hours to reach the final.

In women's singles, Sania, ranked 67 in the world, played with clinical precision producing some stunning forehand shots to decimate her much higher ranked 24-year-old Chinese rival.

Sania is the first Indian women to figure in the Asian Games tennis final after a gap of 24 years.

The 64-minute semi-final was reduced to no contest as Na Li was left pondering as to what hit her while Sania came up with lethal cross court forehands.

The 20-year-old Hyderabadi star served well, returned superbly and finished off the match in quick time so as not to prolong the Chinese agony on the court.

Sania relied on her power and never relaxed her strangle hold on the match while Na Li hardly got a chance to find her bearing on the court.

Sania showed her aggressive plan from the very start as she broke Na Li in the first game and then broke her again in the fifth to take the set (6-2) in 29th minute.

Na Li was totally rattled by this showing of merciless powerplay by her rival and tried to regain the ground and rhythm in the next but Sania was in no mood to give up her control on the proceedings.

The Chinese' game collapsed against the amazing performance of her rival. Sania unleashed great forehands and deep backhand cross court shots and returns which Na Li was not able to negotiate.


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