Thursday, January 26, 2012

Paes paces ahead in Aus Open; Sania-Hesh enter semis

Leander Paes had a productive day at the Australian Open as he made it to the semifinals of the men's doubles pairing Radek Stepanek and then entered the mixed doubles quarterfinals with Elena Vesnina in Melbourne on Wednesday.

Sania Mirza, meanwhile, had a mixed day as she reached the semi-finals of the mixed doubles event with Mahesh Bhupathi, but she missed out when she lost the women's doubles semi-final along with Vesnina.
The unseeded Indo-Czech pair of Paes and Stepanek registered a straight-set victory over 10th seeded pair of Eric Butorac of USA and Brazil's Bruno Soares 6-4 7-6 in a battle that lasted an hour and 39 minutes.
Paes and Stepanek looked more comfortable than their fancied opponents in the opening set as they held their serve with ease and managed to convert the only break point they got.
The US-Brazilian duo of Butorac and Soares though came up with a better show in the second set, putting a lot of pressure on their opponents' serve.
After both the pairs exchanged breaks, the set moved into a tie-breaker. Paes and Stepanek did well to take a 3-0 lead in the tie-breaker and then held their nerves to win it 7-4.
They will next take on second seeds Belarus' Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor of Canada for a place in the final.
Paes, then, along with Vesnina downed unseeded Su-Wei Hsieh of Chinese Taipei and Marcin Matkowski of Poland in straight sets 6-3 7-5.
Meanwhile the sixth seeded Indian pair of Sania and Bhupathi got the better of Liezel Huber of USA and Colin Fleming of United Kingdom in straight sets 7-6 (7-5) 6-2.
After being stretched in the first set that went right down to the wire, the Indians stamped their supremacy in the second set, converting two of three breakpoints, to clinch the match in 84 minutes.
Sania and Bhupathi smashed 27 winners as compared to 18 by Huber and Fleming.
The fifth seeded combo of Paes and Vesnina had an easy outing as they took just over an hour to wrap up the match.
In the first set, Paes and Vesnina could convert four of the six break points they received to win the set comfortably.
In the second set, Hsieh and Matkowski came back strongly, but Paes and Vesnina saved as many as five breakpoints, apart from converting three of six they had received, to get the better of their rivals.
They would now take on Rohan Bopanna and American Lisa Raymond in the last eight stage.
However, it was all over for Sania and Vesnina after they suffered a 6-7 6-2 4-6 semifinal loss at the hands of the unseeded Russian duo of Svetlana Kuznetsova and Vera Zvonareva in a hard-fought match that lasted two hours and 33 minutes.
The sixth seeded Indo-Russian pair lost out on account of unforced errors.
Sania and Vesnina made as many as 51 unforced errors as opposed to just 24 by their Russian rivals. And even a massive 47 winners in contrast to 29 by Kuznetsova and Zvonareva could not save them.
In the junior competition, Rutuja Bhosale and her Indonesian partner Aldila Sutjiadi rallied to beat Irina Maria Bara of Romania and Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia 5-7 6-1 10-7 to advance into the girls' doubles semifinals.

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