Melbourne: Sania Mirza put herself in contention for a seventh Grand Slam title as she breezed into the Australian Open mixed doubles final with Ivan Dodig, beating local favourites Samantha Stosur and Sam Groth here today. The second-seeded Indo-Croatian pair won 6-4 2-6 10-5 in the semifinals, that lasted one hour and 18 minutes.
Sania has won three mixed doubles titles, the last being the 2014 US Open with Brazilian Bruno Soares. With Dodig, she had an opportunity to win last year when she reached the French Open final but lost to compatriot Leander Paes and her then doubles partner Martina Hingis in the summit clash. The opening set featured a lot of breaks and the only one to not concede a break of serve was Sania.
However, in the second set, the Indian lost her serve twice -- fourth and ninth games -- and it all boiled down to the Match Tie-breaker. It was 3-3 in the Tie-break but the second seeds pulled away after that, taking five points in a row. The Australians, especially Groth was struggling with his first serve and they paid a huge price for that.
Groth lost both the points on his serve on the eighth and ninth points while Dodig curtailed unforced errors in nick of time. Sania sent a lob out on the first match point but converted second when Dodig hit an unreturnable volley to the left of Stosur.
Sania and Dodig next face the winners of the other semifinal between Elina Svitolina and Chris Guccione and the combo of Abigail Spears and Juan Sebastian Cabal. Sania is the lone Indian surviving in the first Grand Slam of the season with Rohan Bopanna, Leander Paes, Purav Raja, Divij Sharan and juniors Zeel Desai and Siddhant Banthia all making early exits.