By Matthew Trollope
The Indian pairing of Sania Mirza and Mahesh Bhupathi have moved through to the Australian Open 2009 mixed doubles final after a comfortable 6-4 6-1 win over the Czech Republic’s Iveta Benesova and Lukas Dlouhy on Friday.
Mirza and Bhupathi combined effectively at the net throughout the 54-minute encounter, routinely leaving their opponents flat-footed and out of position.
The Indian duo did not have it all their own way early, going down 0-3 after being broken in the second game. But from there, they quickly found their range to level at 3-3.
In fact, from 0-3 down they won 12 of the final 14 games of the match, breaking serve five times to their opponents’ zero in an utterly dominant performance.
The first set concluded in just over half an hour after Mirza and Bhupathi reeled off three straight games from 3-4 down.
They continued their solid form throughout the second set.
Bhupathi demonstrated his prowess at the net, expertly anticipating the play and picking off several volleys. Mirza, too, looked sharp, serving solidly and putting away short balls with aplomb.
The shell-shocked Benesova-Dlouhy combination were simply too slow to react, and the second set raced by in just 22 minutes, handing the Indian duo a passage to their second Australian Open mixed doubles final in as many years.
They will meet the French-Israeli pairing of Nathalie Dechy and Andy Ram on Sunday.
The Indian pairing won 55 points to 37
The Czech duo served three double faults, while Mirza and Bhupathi had none
Mirza and Bhupathi had a better second-serve percentage than first serve, winning 82 per cent of points on their second delivery
The Indians created 10 break point opportunities to their opponents’ one