| Maria Sharapova celebrates her win over Spain’s Lourdes Dominguez Lino |
New York: Sania Mirza entered the mixed doubles second round with a new partner, but the doubles pair of Mahesh Bhupahti and Rohan Bopanna made a shock first-round exit from the men’s doubles event of the US Open here.
Sania ended her successful partnership with Bhupahti in the mixed doubles circuit after being “sacrificed” by the veteran in the infamous Olympic selection row in July. And the Hyderabadi made a fresh start with Englishman Colin Fleming when the duo defeated the British-American combination of Andrea Petkovic and Eric Butorac 6-2, 7-6 (5).
Sania and Fleming will now be up against winners of the match between Americans Melanie Oudin and Jack Sock and the fifth-seeded Slovak-Serbian pair of Katarina Srebotnik and Nenad Zimonjic.
In the men’s doubles, Bhupathi and Bopanna, who have been dumped from the Indian Davis Cup team for revolting against the All India Tennis Assoiation before the Olympics, were shown the door in the first round itself.
The eighth-seeded Indian team were defeated 3-6, 6-7 (4) by unseeded Australians Matthew Ebden and Bernard Tomic.
But Leander Paes sailed into the second round with Czech partner Radek Stepanek. The fifth-seeded team outplayed the unseeded German duo of Dustin Brown and Christopher Kas 6-3, 6-3.
On Thursday, former top-ranked players Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic of Serbia are quietly into the third round with impressive performances so far.
Each has dropped just nine games through two straight-set wins. The 12th-seeded Ivanovic beat 51st-ranked Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden 6-2, 6-2 on Thursday. Jankovic, seeded 30th, defeated 115th-ranked Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino of Spain 6-4, 6-2.
Both women reached No. 1 in the world in 2008, a breakthrough year for Serbian tennis when Ivanovic won the French Open and countryman Novak Djokovic took the Australian Open.
While Djokovic has since won four more Grand Slam titles, Ivanovic and Jankovic have often struggled in the last four years.
The highest-ranked American man, John Isner, let out a big exhale of relief while waving to the crowd after getting past an argumentative Xavier Malisse 6-3, 7-6 (5), 5-7, 7-6 (9) in the first round.
“I know in the nitty-gritty times of a match, I always have that confidence and all those wins in my back pocket,” said Isner, who is 37-13 in tiebreakers this season.
The 6-foot-9 Isner hit 20 aces and ended things with a service winner on his third match point. That came after Malisse pushed an easy backhand volley into the net, then grabbed the ball and shoved it in his mouth and chomped on it as though it were an apple.
The 57th-ranked Malisse, a 2002 Wimbledon semifinalist, was louder and angrier during a few exchanges with the chair umpire and even members of the crowd, earning a warning for profanity.
“Half of the crowd doesn’t understand what’s going on,” Malisse said. “They yell. We’re in New York. So you’re going to get more yells. That’s fine by me. ... (But) I’m going to say something back.”
Britain’s Andy Murray had less trouble reaching round three on Wednesday than he has this week avoiding the New York paparazzi, who have been hanging on the Olympic champion’s every word. The Scot stepped up a gear from his first-round match as he crushed world No. 117 Ivan Dodig of Croatia 6-2, 6-1, 6-3 under the lights at Flushing Meadows.