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Sania, Bopanna move up in Australian Open


Melbourne : It turned out to be a good day for India at the Australian Open, as both Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna advanced to the second round of their respective doubles event.

Sixth seed Sania Mirza and her Australian partner Alicia Molik had to fight for three sets to get past unseeded Greek-German pair of Eleni Daniilidou and Jasmin Woehr, while Bopanna and Rajeev Ram, an American of Indian origin, cruised into the second round with a straight set victory.

Sixth seed Sania-Molik duo defeated Daniilidou and Woehr 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in a battle that lasted exactly two hours, while Bopanna-Ram thrashed James Auckland of Britain and Sam Querrey of the US 6-1, 7-6 in just over an hour.

In the next round, Sania-Molik now will be up against all Russian pair of Nadia Petrova and Elena Vesnina, who went past local challenge of Sophie Ferguson and Trudi Musgrave 6-3 6-4.

The Indo-American pair of Bopanna and Ram will clash against the winner of the match between fifth seed Indo-Aussie pair of Leander Paes and Paul Hanley and Luis Horna of Peru and Stefan Koubek of Austria.

Though Sania-Moli and Daniilidou-Woehr duos were at par with their first serve wins, registering 70 percent, break point conversions and unforced errors made the difference between the two pairs.

Sania and Molik converted 46 percent of their break points as against their opponent’s 38 percent. Even the Indo-Australian pair committed less unforced errors — six compared to their rival’s 13.

After pocketing the first set comfortably, Sania and Molik were shocked by the unseeded Greek-German duo, who broke their serve twice to take the encounter into a decider.

The decider turned out to be an even contest, but Sania-Molik capitalized on the break point chances they got and three out of the six to pocket the set and the match.

Earlier in the day, Bopanna and Ram easily overcame Auckland-Querrey duo’s challenge by virtue of their solid serve and volley.

The Indo-American pair’s superiority was proved in the fact that they have converted 50 percent of their break points, while their rivals can only manage 17 percent.