Wimbledon: It was a mixed Thursday for Indian tennis players at Wimbledon. Though veteran Leander Paes entered the mixed doubles semi-final, Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna bowed out of the lone grass court major in their respective categories.
Paes, partnering Swiss ace Martina Hingis, completely thrashed their opponents to enter the mixed doubles semifinals. It was a thorough professional performance from the seventh seeds, who needed just 44 minutes to drub Polish-Russian third seeds Marcin Matkowski and Elena Vesnina 6-2, 6-1 on Court 1.
Paes and Hingis won all four break point opportunities that were made available to them and also clinched 49 of the 76 points played in the match, showing the one-sidedness of the quarter-final contest.
Next up, they will take on formidable American top seeds Mike Bryan and Bethanie Mattek-Sands for a place in yet another final.
It was heartbreak for Bopanna and his Romanian partner Florin Mergea who fought hard for three hours and 23 minutes but eventually had to give in, losing their men's doubles semi-final.
Ninth-seeded Bopanna and Mergea, who have been in top form coming into the tournament, were on the brink of their maiden final here before going down 6-4, 2-6, 3-6, 6-4, 11-13 to Dutch-Romanian fourth seeds Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau in the marathon match on Court 2 of the All England Club.
After sharing the first four fantastically contested sets, it all boiled down to the fifth and final set. Bopanna and Mergea came close but failed to hold on with Rojer-Tecau breaking the ninth seeds in the 24th and last game of the set to book a place in the final.
This was Bopanna's second semi-final appearance here after also reaching the last four stage two years ago with Pakistan's Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi.
Later, Austrian-Hungarian fifth seeds Alexander Peya and Timea Babos defeated Indian-Brazilian second seeds Sania Mirza and Bruno Soares 3-6, 7-6(6), 9-7 in two hours and 21 minutes. Sania and Bruno lost the mixed doubles quarterfinal despite having two matchpoints at one stage.
Much earlier, Indian-Vietnamese eighth seeds Sumit Nagal and Nam Hoang Ly defeated local pair Jonathan Gray and Ewan Moore 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 37 minutes to progress to the boys' doubles quarterfinals. They will next take on Japanese combine of Jumpei Yamasaki and Yusuke Takahashi.
Also, late on Wednesday evening, Sania equalled her best performance at the lone grass court Major by reaching the women's doubles semifinals with Martina.
Sania, who had reached the semis in 2011 too with Elena Vesnina, and Martina came out with a clinical performance. The top seeds needed only an hour and 19 minutes to beat Australian-Kazakh ninth seeds Casey Dellacqua and Yaroslava Shvedova 7-5, 6-3 in the quarterfinal played on Court 3.
Sania and Martina next face American fifth seeds Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears on Friday for a spot in the final.
Later in the first round of girls' doubles, Colombian-Indonesian pair of Maria Fernanda Herazo Gonzalez and Deria Nur Haliza defeated Indo-Japanese combine of Pranjala Yadlapalli and Chihiro Muramatsu 6-3, 6-2 in just over an hour on Court 14.