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Sania to take on Justine
Sania Mirza

Melbourne: Sania Mirza booked a berth in the women’s singles main draw of the Australian Open with an easy straight-set victory over Canada’s Stephanie Dubois, here on Sunday.

The 24th seed Indian triumphed 6-2, 6-3 in one hour and 13 minutes in the third and final round of the qualifying competition.

She will now face former world No.1 Justine Henin, on Monday.

Sania had to go through the qualifying route due to low ranking as she has slipped to 145th spot due injuries last season.

Sania dropped her serve twice in the first set but the Canadian offered more chances as the Indian converted four of five to put her nose ahead. Sania cashed in on an erratic Dubois, who faced seven breakpoints in the second set and the Indian converted three of them to seal the win.

Apart from Sania, Somdev Dev Burman will be the other Indian in the singles draw.

Meanwhile, all eyes will be on Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi as the Indian Express returns to a Grand Slam for the first time in nine years.

Lee-Hesh warmed up for the first Grand Slam of the season with a victory at the Chennai Open but it won’t be easy for them at the Australian Open — starting Monday — as the competition will be fierce with some formidable pairs in the fray.

The last Grand Slam they won together was French Open in 2001 and have not competed on the ATP Circuit together since parting ways in 2002.

Incidentally, Bhupathi has not won a men’s doubles Grand Slam title since winning the US Open with Max Mirnyi in 2002.

Paes has been successful in adding three men’s titles apart from winning three with Bhupathi. He won the US Open in 2006 with Martin Damm and lifted two trophies (French Open in 2006 and US Open in 2009) with Lukas Dlouhy.

But Paes and Bhupathi played together for the nation in Davis Cup and Commonwealth Games and, so, the chemistry between them is not a problem.

(Agencies)

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