The fourth seed in women's doubles, Sania Mirza and Barbora Strycova, has been knocked out of the Australian Open in the third round. The Indo-Czech pair lost to the Japanese pair of Eri Hozumi and Miyu Kato in a three-set affair. The final score read 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 in favour of the unseeded pair.
Sania and Barbora were expected to reach the next round of the Australian Open, but they were surprised by some stunning display of tennis from their opponents. Eri and Miyu got off to a good start and looked solid from the baseline as well as the net. With some outstanding overall play, they clinched the first set.
The Indo-Czech pair realised the need to play better tennis to hold on to the game. Sania and Barbora anted up and collected important points with incredible plays. There was an air of confidence in their play, which helped them win the second set with ease, 6-2.
With one set-a-piece, the match moved to the deciding set. Sania and Barbora could not carry on the impressive showing in the second set when it mattered most. They were on the receiving end of some thumping winners by the Japanese pair, who gained immense confidence as the third set went on. They hit 15 winners in the final set, which they won 6-2.
Eri and Miyu deservedly booked their quarterfinals spot after playing some high quality tennis. The pair was visibly pleased, evident in the broad smiles and waving to the crowd, after pipping the favourites.
This is a huge blow to Indian tennis fans. After Rohan Bopanna's exit from the men's doubles, all eyes were on Sania. However, India will now look forward to the mixed doubles contest, where Sania, Bopanna and Leander Paes have reached the second round.