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Paes gets the better of Mahesh

Leander Paes in Melbourne

Melbourne: It was Leander Paes vs Mahesh Bhupathi at the Australian Open on Monday.

And it was the champion from Calcutta who emerged victorious. In a tight mixed doubles contest, Paes and his Slovakian partner Daniela Hantuchova, unseeded in the tournament, scored an upset victory over eighth seeds Mahesh Bhupathi and Elena Vesnina of Russia 6-0, 2-6, 10-6 to make it to the quarter finals.

Sania Mirza, too, stormed into the last-eight stage in her two events.

Sania and her Zimbabwean partner Cara Black beat the pair of Eugenie Bouchard of Canada and Russia’s Vera Dushevina 6-4, 6-3 in an hour and 12 minutes to reach the quarter finals of the women’s doubles.

The Indian then joined hands with her Romanian partner Horia Tecau to outplay Anastasia Rodionova of Australia and Britain’s Colin Fleming 6-2, 6-2 in a 51-minute mixed doubles pre-quarter final match. Rohan Bopanna and his partner Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia also made it to the quarter finals of the mixed doubles, posting 7-6 (7-5), 7-5 win over the Australian duo of Ashleigh Barty and John Peers. The mixed doubles pre-quarter final match, involving Paes and Bhupathi, was an intense affair and lasted 57 minutes.

After registering a comfortable win in the opening set, the Paes-Hantuchova pair slipped in the next one, even as Bhupathi and Elena converted two of the three break points to run away with the second set.

The third and deciding set was a closely-fought one, but Paes and Hantuchova held on to their nerves to eke out a win. They will now take on the pair of Kristina Mladenovic of France and Daniel Nestor of Canada in a quarter final match.       (PTI)