Perth, Jan 1 (UNI) Riding on an inspired show by Sania Mirza, India went up 2-1 against Australia today and kept alive its hopes to make it to the finals while severely denting those of the host.
Sania won her match against Alicia Molik 6-2, 2-6, 6-4, to take the first rubber. The host came back strongly through Peter Luczak who beat Rohan Bopanna 7-6, 6-3 in the second match.
In the third match, Sania-Bopanna joined hands to win the mixed doubles 6-2, 4-6, 13-11, in the tiebreaker.
The 22-year-old Hyderabadi started the procedings in a belligerent fashion taking the first set in just 30 minutes.
Molik was shaky in the first set, giving away unforced errors as Sania broke her serve three times.
The Australian asserted control over her game in the second set, Molik picked up her her serve, in the second set and as Mirza's level dipped, the 56th ranked Australian levelled the match.
The third set was a clifhanger, as Sania stormed to a 5-1 lead only to falter as Molik saved three match points in the seventh game before hitting back to 5-4. But the 31st ranked Sania held onto her nerve to seal victory for her team in a deul that lasted 109 minutes.
Sania, the first Indian woman to break into the top 50, said after the match that she almost lost her way in the third set.
''I was 5-1 and then she started playing really well.
''But on her serve, she can come up with big serves any time.
She stopped missing the ball and I made some stupid mistakes. But I am glad to win,'' Mirza told reporters.
In the second match of the day, Boppanna lost to much higher ranked Luczak in straight sets 6-7, 3-6.
Luczak and Bopanna were both after their first Hyundai Hopman Cup win and began with a tough first set that went to a tie-breaker.
Luczak, ranked 79th, proved too good, though, winning seven points to two. Thus taking the game in 70 minutes.
Luczak had less trouble in the second set, playing some strong tennis to comfortably win 6-3 and ensure a live mixed doubles.
Indian team looked to continue its undefeated run in the mixed doubles at the Hopman Cup. The Indian pair of Sania-Bopanna took the first set 6-2. But the Aussie duo of Molik and Luczak won the second set 6-4. The third set went into the tie breaker with both the teams not leaving any stone unturned.
Australia took the early advantage in the race. Both teams kept battling it out, before India had a 12-11 lead and won the deciding point off Mirza's serve, as India snatched it 13-11. The deul lasted for one hour 17 minutes.
India must now beat the Czech Republic and Australia need to defeat the United States, results which would leave all three teams on two wins out of three, with the group winner then decided on rubbers won.
The teams have a day's break now, before playing Thursday's day sessions, which will see the Group B finalist decided.
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