Sania Mirza might be looking at a new era in women's doubles after the Rio 2016 Olympics, having split up with Martina Hingis, but the Hyderabadi will hope to first bring some glory to India, when she teams up with Rohan Bopanna in the mixed doubles tennis event. Sania and Bopanna open their Olympic campaign on Wednesday, hoping to better their performances in the women's and men's doubles respectively.
Neither Sania nor Bopanna could make an impact in their other doubles events, with the former losing in the first round along with her doubles partner Prarthana Thombare, while Bopanna and Leander Paes were knocked out in round number one by the Poland pair of Marcin Matkowski and Lukasz Kubot.
The mixed doubles is all that remains for India in their hopes for a medal in tennis, piling the pressure on Sania and Bopanna to perform, starting with a first round win over Samantha Stosur and John Peers of Australia. The world number one in women's doubles, Sania, picked Bopanna as her partner for the Rio Olympics, and now it will be up to the two of them to show they can go deep in this tournament.
While the first round exits of the men's and women's doubles teams were somewhat expected, it was nevertheless disappointing, and the only way for the duo to move on from those losses is by making an impact in the mixed doubles.
Sania reached the quarterfinals of the same event in the London 2012 Olympics, while pairing up with Paes. However, with a new partner in Bopanna this time around, it will be interesting to see how the Indians fare.
Sania, after a great start to 2016, when she won the Australian Open women's doubles title with Hingis, has struggled in the big tournaments since â€“ and the result of that has been a parting of the ways with the "Swiss Miss" â€“ the Indian will want to course correct, starting with this mixed doubles event at the Rio Olympics.
The Indian pair certainly has the pedigree to go deep in the tournament. Both are accomplished doubles players, and while they do not play together on the international circuit, Sania and Bopanna have enough experience to be able to find a way to come together.
Stosur, a former Grand Slam champion, and Peers will not be easy opponents for Sania and Bopanna, and the India duo will need to be tuned in for the entire duration of the match to make their way into the second round.
Apart from the mixed doubles action, there will be plenty of other star power as well. Andy Murray plays two matches on Wednesday, the men's singles third round against Fabio Fognini and the mixed doubled first round with Johanna Konta. The British duo will face the American pairing of Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Jack Sock.
Nadal also plays two matches on Wednesday, starting with his mixed doubles encounter with partner Garbine Muguruza. The Spain team play Lucie Hradecka and Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic. Nadal then will play a mouthwatering third round men's singles clash against France's Gilles Simon.
Where to Watch Live
Sania/Bopanna vs Stosur/Peers is the fourth match on Court 3, with the first one beginning at 11 a.m. local time (7.30 p.m. IST, 3 p.m. BST). The likes of Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray will also be in action on Wednesday. Below is the live streaming and TV information to watch the tennis matches.
India: TV: Star Sports and DD National. Live Streaming: Hotstar.
Australia: TV: Channel 7, 7Two and 7Mate. Live Streaming: Channel 7 online.
Brazil: TV: SporTV, Globo, Fox Sports and ESPN.
UK: TV: BBC. Live Streaming: BBCiPlayer.
China: TV: CCTV.