The top-seeded pair of Sania Mirza and Ivan Dodig outclassed defending champions Leander Paes and Martina Hingis to enter the semifinals of the mixed doubles at the Australian Open on Thursday.
Mirza and Dodig took just an hour and 13 minutes to outplay the Indo-Swiss pair of Paes and Hingis 7-6 (1), 6-3 on Show Court 3. Mirza, who last won the title at Melbourne Park in 2009 with compatriot Mahesh Bhupathi, is already in the women’s doubles final with Hingis, while Paes is her former partner.
The Indo-Croat pairing will next take on Russian-Brazilian fifth seeds Elena Vesnina and Bruno Soares, who beat Katarina Srebotnik of Slovakia and Jamie Murray of Great Britain 6-2, 6-3, for a place in the final. Interestingly, Soares is also Mirza’s former partner, the duo having won the mixed doubles title at the US Open in 2014.
The first set was evenly contested with both pairs breaking each other once. The number of total points won, winners and unforced errors were also more or less the same for both teams, which led the set to the decider.
But it was the tie-breaker which made the big difference where out of the eight points played, Paes and Hingis only managed to win one point in comparison to the top seeds’ seven, clinching the set in 44 minutes.
Mirza and Dodig were on a roll, and they carried the momentum to the second set, which they won in less than half an hour, where they broke Paes’ serve early in the first game to get the crucial break.
Both teams held their serves for the next seven games with Mirza and Dodig leading 5-3. Serving to save the set, pressure took its toll on Paes, who once again faltered with a couple of wayward serves to hand the game, set and match to the top seeded combine.
Paes’ serve faltered in the quarterfinal with the pair suffering as many as four double faults.