SPORT

Delightful day for the Indians

MELBOURNE: The Indian players rounded off a brilliant day at the Australian Open amid soaring temperatures with Leander Paes advancing to the men’s doubles semifinals and Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza making the last four stage of the mixed doubles event here on Wednesday.

Paes and his Czech partner Lukas Dlouhy, seeded fourth, quelled a late challenge from unseeded Italians Simone Bolelli and Andreas Seppi to prevail 6-1, 7-6(5) in the quarterfinals.

Paes and Dlouhy took just 21 minutes to seal the opening set, converting two of the six break points they earned.

The Italians staged a comeback in the second and took it to a tie-breaker, but the more experienced Paes and Dlouhy held their nerve to wrap it up after a 47-minute battle.

Earlier, Sania and Mahesh rallied to beat Canadians Aleksandra Wozniak and Daniel Nestor to book a semifinal berth in the mixed doubles event. The unseeded Indian pair overcame a first set lapse to carve out a 3-6, 6-4, 10-5 win in one hour and 15 minutes.

Sania and Bhupathi, the runners-up here last year, dropped their serve twice in the first set and wasted one break point to hand the opener to their opponents.

In the next set, they missed chances aplenty but were successful in converting three breakpoints out of seven to level the match.

In the super tie-breaker, the Indians kept their cool to emerge winners. They next face the Czech pair of Iveta Benesova and Lukas Dlouhy.

Yuki in last eight

Among the juniors, top seed Yuki Bhambri reached the last eight stage after defeating 13th seed Croat Dino Marcan 6-3, 6-1 in the pre-quarterfinals of the boys’ section.

Yuki, along with Liang-Chi Huang of Taipei, was also scheduled to compete in the doubles quarterfinals but the match was cancelled due to excruciating heat. — PTI

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