Sania Mirza, Leander Paes keep Indian flag flying at Australian Open

Melbourne, Jan 26: Leander Paes and Sania Mirza made Indian tennis fans proud on the 67th Republic Day, winning their respective matches at the Australian Open here on Tuesday.

Top seeds Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis extended their amazing winning juggernaut to 34 matches, downing 12th seeds Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Coco Vandeweghe 6-2, 4-6, 6-1, to enter the women's doubles semi-finals.

A file picture of Sania Mirza

The pair, dubbed SanTina by their fans, took 1 hour 38 minutes to complete the victory against their German-American opponents at the Margaret Court Arena.

The match was intensely contested with fortunes swaying both ways. Sania-Martina won five of the eight break points to turn the tie in their favour, even though they hit fewer winners (22 to 29).

They made up for that blip by committing fewer unforced errors (16 to 25) and won 83 points, 23 more than their challengers.

The Indo-Swiss pair, ranked No.1 in the chart, will take on 13th seeds Julia Goerges and Karolina Pliskova next.

Goerges-Pliskova beat American duo of Vania King-Alla Kudryavtseva 6-2, 6-4 in the quarter-finals.

In the mixed doubles, top seeds Sania Mirza and Ivan Dodig shook off the challenge of Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and Yaroslava Shvedova 7-5, 6-2 in a second round clash in 1 hour eight minutes.

The Indo-Croatian pair claimed the first set, resisting some stiff contest, in 38 minutes.

They broke the Pakistani-Kazakh pair twice in the first set, receiving five break point chances, and were broken once in two attempts.

In the second set, however, they were far more at ease, breaking their opponents twice in six attempts and not getting broken once, needing only 30 minutes to seize it.

Sania-Dodig hit fewer winners (23 to 27) but committed lesser unforced errors (16 to 20) to eventually win 65 of the total 115 points played to advance.

The experienced mixed doubles pair of Paes and Martina Hingis were far more comfortable in their 6-1, 6-2 second-round victory over Jean-Julien Rojer and Sloane Stephens in 50 minutes.

The Indo-Swiss pair took just 21 minutes to pocket the first set, converting five of the eight break points received.

They were not under any duress throughout the match and easily broke their Dutch-Amercian pair's serve.

In the second set, Paes-Hingis won three of the six break points received to win the set in 29 minutes.

They hit an overall 18 winners and just 5 unforced errors, winning 51 of the total 85 points played at the Margaret Court Arena.

In the junior girls' doubles, fifth seeds Karman Thandi-Pranjala Yadlapalli beat Chinese pair of Siqi Cao-Jia Ren 6-4, 4-6, 10-2 at Court 7.


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