Sydney: Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna scored contrasting victories with their respective partners to storm into the semifinals of the Apia International, here yesterday.
Sania and her American partner Bethanie-Mattek Sands shocked second seeds Martina Hingis and Flavia Penneta 6-3 6-3 in the quarterfinals of the USD 731,000 WTA event.
Sania had to pair with the American since her regular partner Su-Wei Hsieh was playing singles qualifiers at the Australian Open and the decision to again join forces with her former partner Mattek-Sands has proved spot on since Sania has succeeded to reach the semifinals in Sydney for the first time.
The strong winds at this venue have always troubled Sania's game, which hinges more on timing and rhythm, but thanks to her better fitness and experience of countering such conditions she is doing well here.
It was an indifferent start for Sania and her partner as they trailed 1-3 following an early break, but they went on to win the next eight games in a row to turn the tables on the team of the two former world number ones.
Sania has won four WTA doubles titles with Mattek-Sands before. Since the American is making a comeback from a surgery, her ranking has taken a hit and thus Sania and she were the last pair to make it to the main draw and are unseeded.
At the USD 494,310 ATP event, Bopanna and his third seed partner Daniel Nestor beat Italian pair of Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini 7-5 6-3 in only 67 minutes to make it to the semis.
The Indo-Canadian pair next face French top seeded pair of Julien Benneteau and Edouard Roger-Vasselin. Meanwhile, at the USD 519,395 Heineken Open in Auckland,
fourth seeds Leander Paes and Raven Klaasen won a battle of nerves against Jamie Murray and John Peers to advance to the quarterfinals.
Paes and his South African partner recorded a hard-fought 7-6(3), 4-6 10-6 win in one hour and 26 minutes.