MELBOURNE: The Indian ace mixed doubles pair of Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna breezed into the second round at the Australian Open 2023 at Melbourne Park on Saturday.
The semi-finalists from Rio 2016 Saina Mirza and Rohan Bopanna defeated Australian wild card entry Jaimee Fourlis and Luke Saville 7-5, 6-3 in an hour and 14 minutes.
The Indian pair suffered an early setback in the match, having been broken in the fourth game. After a prompt retort, Mirza and Bopanna took six of the next eight games to capture the opening set.
As they gained momentum, Mirza and Bopanna maintained their hold on the second set and defeated Jaimee Fourlis and Luke Saville in the seventh and ninth games to win the set and the match.
Six-time Grand Slam champion Sania Mirza will face the winner of the match between Nicole Melichar-Martinez/Matwe Middelkoop and Ellen Perez/Harri Heliovaara in the round of 16. Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza won the mixed doubles title at the 2017 French Open.
Sania Mirza and Mahesh Bhupathi won the Australian Open mixed doubles championship in 2009.
Earlier, Sania Mirza and Anna Danilina overpowered the Hungarian-American team of Dalma Galfi and Bernarda Pera to advance to the second round of women’s doubles.
Meanwhile, Rohan Bopanna and Matthew Ebden were eliminated from the men’s doubles competition after falling to Austria’s Lucas Miedler and Alexander Erler 6-3, 7-5, on Friday.
N Sriram Balaji and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan of India stunned fifth seeds Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek 7-6 (6), 2-6, 6-4 earlier in the day to go to the second round of men’s doubles.
The Indian team, which was placed second at the just-completed Maharashtra Open, will now play the French team of Jeremy Chady and Fabrice Martin. (ANI)