Rio de Janeiro:
Indian duo of Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna entered the quarterfinals of the mixed doubles event of tennis competition at the Rio Olympics with a straight-set win over Australian pair of Samantha Stosur and John Peers here today.
Sania and Bopanna, who are being touted as India’s medal hope at the Olympics, won their opening round match 7-5 6-4 in 73 minutes.
The fourth seeded Indian pair broke their opponents and gained an upper hand in the opening set by going 5-4 up to serve for the set.
But they conceded the advantage in the next game itself and were broken back with scoreline levelled at 5-5.
However, there was more drama in store as exchange of break points continued with Sania and Bopanna stealing away the advantage yet again, making it 6-5 and serving for the opening set once more.
This time the Indians did not falter and wrapped up the first set in their favour 7-5. Sania and Bopanna had three set points as they bagged the opening set in 36 minutes.
In the second set, Sania and Bopanna were patchy to start with as they struggled to even keep their own serve.
But even the Australians struggled to keep their service. And a double fault from John Peers gifted the Indians an early break and they took a 3-2 lead before holding on to their own service game to surge ahead 4-2.
Although Bopanna started off with two double faults in India’s service game, the Indians recovered well to consolidate the break.
It was just a matter of holding the serve thereafter and the Indian duo did just that to seal the second set in 37 minutes and walk away with the match.
In the quarterfinals, the Indian duo will take on the unseeded Great Britain pair of Andy Murray and Heather Watson who beat Spanish combo of David Ferrer and Carla Suarez Navarro 6-3 6-3 in another first round match.
Four years ago in London, Sania, partnering with Leander Paes, made it to the mixed doubles quarter-finals.
Earlier, the Indians had suffered first round defeats in both men’s and women’s doubles events in Rio Olympics.