The Australian Open 2017 has not been great for India, with Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna failing in their doubles ventures, but Sania Mirza still has a chance of winning the mixed doubles title with her Croatian partner Ivan Dodig. The second seed defeated home favourites Samantha Stosur and Sam Groth 6-4, 2-6 (10-5) in a thrilling semifinals match at the Rod Laver Arena on Friday.
Stosur and Groth had earlier showed the exit door to Paes and Martina Hingis in the quarterfinals, but Sania and Dodig were in no mood to allow the Australian pair to reach the finals.
Sania and Dodig looked in superb form in the opening set. The Indo-Croatian pair played some smart tennis. They kept it simple, while the Australian pair of Stosur and Groth went in for expansive shots down the line on several occasions.
With Stosur and Groth playing aggressive tennis, they were bound to make some errors, but the pair also hit some incredible winners. However, the beautiful combination of Sania and Dodig, who have been playing together for quite some time in the mixed doubles circuit, clinched the first set, 6-4. The seven double faults committed by the Australian pair also helped the Indo-Croat win the set.
Stosur and Groth were much more clinical in the second set. They looked the superior team, with good service games and quality strokeplay. Their play from the baseline was equally good, helping them cruise towards a 6-2 win.
With the match tied at 1-1 set, the semifinals moved into the crucial tie-break, where anything was possible. The tie-break was extremely close in the initial stages when the score board read 3-3. From there on, Sania and Dodig were on top, with their opponents making some errors, and allowing the Indo-Croatian pair to take 8-4 lead, and they eventually won it 10-5 to march into the finals.