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Sania-Bethanie reach the final

Brisbane: Sania Mirza and American partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands, on Thursday, reached the first final of the new season when their opponents — Daniela Hantuchova and Katarina Srebotnik — conceded the semi-final match at the WTA Brisbane International.

The unseeded Indo-American pair was leading 5-1 in the opening set when Hantuchova found it unable to continue due to a groin injury.

Sania and Bethanie had shocked second seeded pair of Liezel Huber and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 6-2, 6-3 in the second round of the $1000,000 event.

In singles, Serena Williams seized her opportunities in a heavy-hitting match against Sloane Stephens to set up a semi-final against top-ranked Victoria Azarenka.

Azarenka had no trouble in a 6-1, 6-0 win over Kazakh qualifier Ksenia Pervak on Thursday before Williams beat Stephens 6-4, 6-3.

Serena converted both of her break points and fended off one break chance against in each set to hold off her 19-year-old Fed Cup teammate, later saying Stephens had the potential to be “the best in the world one day”.

Azarenka started the year on a hot run, winning the Sydney International and the Australian Open — her first major - and gaining the No. 1 ranking during a 26-match winning streak.

In men’s singles, Andy registered a hard-fought 6-1, 5-7, 6-3 win over Australian qualifier John Millman in his opening match.

Second-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic was eliminated 6-3 6-4 in the biggest boilover of the event by 21-year-old Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, nicknamed Baby Federer for the similarity of his technique to Roger Federer’s. (Agencies)