Sania Mirza Rohan Bopanna Rio Olympics
Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna in action during their mixed doubles first round win over Sam Stosur and John Peers at the Rio Olympics, Aug.11, 2016IANS

Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna crossed the first mixed doubles hurdle, but the one that awaits them in the quarterfinal of the Rio 2016 Olympics is a considerably larger one. Andy Murray, one of the best tennis players in the world, will team up with Heather Watson as the Great Britain pair look to end India's hopes of a medal in tennis in Rio.

Having suffered disappointments in the women's and men's doubles, this mixed doubles event is India's last chance at a medal, and for a country yet to win a single one in this Olympics, it is vital for Sania and Bopanna to perform against the formidable pairing of Murray and Watson.

While Murray is not someone who plays doubles too often, there is no doubt that he will pose a big problem to the Indian pair. Having won silver, with Laura Robson, in the London 2012 Olympics, the defending men's champion, will be the one that Sania and Bopanna will have to find a way past come Friday.

As decent a player as Watson is, Murray will pose the biggest threat. The world number two's serves have improved, while he is, arguably, the best returner of the men's game. That means Sania's serves, in particular, will be under pressure, and how the women's doubles world number one copes will have a huge bearing on the final result of the match.

The advantage for Sania and Bopanna is the fact that Murray will come into this mixed doubles quarterfinal, having played two matches on Thursday, one of them a cliff-hanger, which nearly saw him knocked out of the men's draw in the third round. Watson and Murray beat Carla Suarez Navarro and David Ferrer to set this quarterfinal up, but it is the third round win over Fognini that might take its toll, when Murray had to come from 1-3 down in the final set to push through a victory.

So, fatigue could be a factor and that is something that Sania and Bopanna need to look for and take advantage of. While there is no doubting Murray's class, Sania and Bopanna are seasoned doubles players, world-class ones in their own right, and if they can find that rhythm which saw them beat Samantha Stosur and John Peers 7-5, 6-4 in the opening round, Murray and Watson will find it difficult.

It is all about staying focused for the entire match and taking advantage of even the slightest of slipups. India need a medal in the tennis event, or any event in fact, to set that ball rolling, and the onus remains on Sania and Bopanna to deliver.

Where to Watch Live

Sania Mirza-Rohan Bopanna vs Heather Watson-Andy Murray is the third match on Court 2, with the first one beginning at 12 a.m. local time (8.30 p.m. IST, 4 p.m. BST).

India: TV: Star Sports and DD National. Live Streaming: Hotstar.

UK: TV: BBC. Live Streaming: BBCiPlayer.

USA: TV: NBC. Live Streaming: NBC Sports live extra, NBC Olympics and NBC Olympics app.

Australia: TV: Channel 7, 7Two and 7Mate. Live Streaming: Channel 7 online.

Brazil: TV: SporTV, Globo, Fox Sports and ESPN.

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