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Perfect day for India at Australian Open

sports Updated: Jan 29, 2009 08:55 IST

Indian players rounded off a brilliant day at the Australian Open amid soaring temperatures with Leander Paes advancing to the men's doubles semifinal and Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza making the last-four stage of the mixed doubles event in Melbourne on Wednesday.

Paes and his Czech partner Lukas Dlouhy, seeded fourth, quelled a late challenge from unseeded Italians Simone Bolelli and Andreas Seppi 6-1 7-6 (5) in the quarterfinals.

They will now square off against the winners of the all-American quarterfinal between second-seeded brothers Bob and Mike Bryan and Mardy Fish and John Isner.

Paes and Dlouhy took just 21 minutes to seal the opening set, converting two of the six break points they earned in the process.

The Italians staged a comeback in the second set and took it to tie breaker but the more experienced Paes and Dlouhy held their nerves to wrap it up after a 47-minute battle.

Earlier, Sania and Mahesh rallied to beat Canadians Aleksandra Wozniak and Daniel Nestor to seal a semifinal berth in the mixed doubles event.The unseeded Indian pair overcame a first-set lapse to carve out a 3-6 6-4 10-5 win in one hour and 15 minutes.

Sania and Bhupathi, the runners-up here last year, dropped their serve twice in the first set and wasted one break point to hand the opener to their opponents.

In the next set, they missed chances aplenty but were successful in converting three breakpoints out of the seven to make it one set all.

In the super-tie breaker, the Indians held their nerves to emerge winners. They next face the Czech pair of Iveta Benesova and Lukas Dlouhy.

Among the juniors, top seed Yuki Bhambri extended his winning run to quarterfinals after defeating 13th seed Croat Dino Marcan 6-3 6-1 in the pre-quarterfinals of the boys singles competition.

Yuki, along with Liang-Chi Huang of Taipei, was also scheduled to compete in the boys' doubles quarterfinals but the match was cancelled due to excruciating heat.