Melbourne, Jan 30: After a sluggish start, Indian ace players Sania Mirza and Mahesh bhupathi sailed to the mixed doubles final of the Australian Open for the second consecutive year. They crushed Czechs Iveta Benesova and Lukas Dlouhy in straight sets on Friday, Jan 30.
The Indian duo who were runner-up at the Melbourne Park last year, trailed 1-3 in the opening set before storming back to seal the match in 54 minutes. In the finals they will take on the unseeded French-Israeli combine of Nathalie Dechy and Andy Ram, who stunned seventh seeded Spaniards Anabel Medina Garrigues and Tommy Robredo 7-6 (9/7) 6-4.
It was hardly the kind of start Sania and Bhupathi, who have dropped just one set en route to the semis, would have wanted as Benesova and Dlouhy broke them in the opening game to race to a 1-3 lead. But Mahesh and Sania got their act together soon after and broke back twice to take the first st in 32 minutes. They even continued their dominance in the second set and broke their rivals thrice.
Their strong hold over the proceedings allowed them to wrap the second set in just 22 minutes. The win comes as a double delight to Bhupathi, who along with Bahamian Mark Knowles, has made the men's doubles finals to be played on Saturday, Jan 30.
Mahesh Bhupathi has six mixed doubles Grand Slam titles under his belt with different partners. His last mixed doubles Grand Slam was incidentally the Australian Open in 2006 when he had partnered Swiss Martina Hingis. But Sania would be aiming for her maiden Slam title.
OneIndia News (With inputs from Agencies)