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Sania Mirza’s mixed doubles partner feels the pressure while playing with her

Sania Mirza’s mixed doubles partner Ivan Dodig says he doesn’t have as many Grand Slams as her so he will be trying his best in the final that they reached on Friday.

tennis Updated: Jan 27, 2017 19:09 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Sania Mirza,Australian Open,Ivan Dodidg
Sania Mirza (left) and Ivan Dodig of Croatia reached the mixed doubles final of the Australian Open on Friday.(AP)

Sania Mirza’s mixed doubles partner Ivan Dodig admitted to being under pressure while playing with her. The pair survived a nervous super tie-break to beat local favourites Samantha Stosur and Sam Groth 6-4, 2-6, (10-5) to reach their second Grand Slam final at the Australian Open on Friday.

Sania Mirza and Ivan Dodig will meet American-Colombian duo Abigail Spears and Juan Sebastian Cabal in the final, after they defeated Chris Guccione and Elina Svitolina 7-6(1), 6-2.

“To be honest, I feel a bit of pressure,” said Dodig when asked how it feels like while playing with Mirza who has six Grand Slam titles to her name.

“We played the final in Paris and we lost a tough match and now we’re again in a final and now I don’t have so many Grand Slams like Sania but I have one in doubles, so I’m here trying to give my all and energy for at least one more mixed (doubles title),” said Dodig who was part of the Croatian Davis Cup team that lost to Argentina last year.

This is the second time the pair has reached a Grand Slam final, with their previous summit clash coming against Martina Hingis and Leander Paes in a losing cause at the French Open last year.

While Mirza has three mixed doubles title to her name, Dodig will aim for his maiden title when the duo take on the winners of the other semi-final featuring Elina Svitolina/Chris Guccione and Abigail Spears/Juan Sebastian Cabal.

“I’ve really enjoyed playing with Sania,” Dodig said. “We had a good run last year here as well and now being in the final is great for us. Unfortunately, we always have to play these super tie-breaks, but it’s fun if you’re winning,” he said.

Mirza, who held on to her second serve in the super tie-break to clinch the match, however seemed to be calm and composed despite the small scare. “We’re used to (tiebreaks). When you’re playing servers as big as Sam, it’s such a tossup. You have to always focus on your serve and that’s what we were trying to do especially in that super tie-break,” she said.

“We always knew it was going to be a tough match but with the scoring system it makes the margin of error so small, that even one bad game on my serve and we were in the third set. So we just tried to keep calm and tried to take the experience. We were down to three-four match points in the last match so for us this is a new life and we’re happy to be in the final.”

Sania Mirza (left) celebrates with Croatia’s Ivan Dodig after winning their mixed doubles' semi-final against Australia's Samantha Stosur and Sam Groth at the Australian Open in Melbourne on Friday. (AP)

Mirza already has an Australian Open mixed doubles title to her name, having won the silverware back in 2009, partnering Mahesh Bhupathi.

“It is a lot of fun and we try and win every time we step on the court. We know each other really well and we obviously try and complement each other on the court as well. It’s a lot of fun and we’re really happy to be in our second final of a Slam and hopefully we can win it this time,” she said.

First Published: Jan 27, 2017 14:08 IST